Resolving conflict through mindful leadership

Dylan John

We all face situations of conflict in our lives. It could be a disagreement with our roommates or friends, a misunderstanding with our parents, a dispute in court or even just anger against our boss at work.

The “Mindful Leader” is one who is aware of his/her surroundings and is able to give leadership in difficult situations such as conflict. While we can only better learn to handle conflict through our experiences combined with growth of understanding, I thought I’d share the three steps below that you could try to practice in order to resolve conflict and grow as a Mindful Leader.

Step 1 – Create a Collaborative Environment: The environment in which we try to resolve conflict is very important. Aggressive and tired disputants don’t help find solutions, calm and relaxed people do. Maybe suggest the following “Let’s all just take a moment to think why we are fighting. It’s simply a misunderstanding, let’s sit down, talk about it and find a solution together.” You have now created a collaborative environment; it’s time to move forward.

Step 2 – Listen, Listen, Listen: The biggest problem we face today in conflict is that we forget to listen. We underestimate the power of listening as anyone on the other side of the argument will appreciate that we are attempting to listen to them and further reduce hostility. We are so busy collecting our side of the argument and how we plan on defending our stance that we completely choose to ignore the other side and forget that the solution maybe in plain sight.

Step 3 – Acknowledge and present your opinion: You have listened to the other person/group; you understand the background of their concerns and have a basic idea of what may have created conflict. It is important to acknowledge their concerns as this opens them up to listen to your concerns. Now that you have created a platform to resolve the conflict, you can present your opinions and concerns with reasoning and work together to find a solution.

I hope these steps will help you in becoming better mindful leaders and better conflict managers.

Dylan John is the president of GSU’s Mock Mediation Club.