How to Build Your Peace Chest

Inventory your skills and your emotional responses to conflict. Build a profile of how you would like to be able to handle conflict, and then decide how to make your vision a reality. The idea is to prevent conflict that is emotionally and financially draining and replace it with more successful ways for interacting, talking, and relating.

You build your peace chest by doing the following things:

  • Rely upon and develop a community of professional assistance
  • Develop your own skills in the area of listening, understanding, negotiation, creative thinking, brainstorming, tolerance, honesty, teamwork, and health and exercise.

You develop your skills by:

  • Attending conflict management programs
  • Reading books
  • Watching videos
  • Reading blogs, articles, and newsletters


Techniques for Managing Conflict

Active listening – This is intentional behavior intended to first seek to understand the other person’s point of view. Recognize and Acknowledge feelings. Let the other person do most of the talking. Ask for clarification when necessary. Paraphrase to let the speaker know you are really listening and to make sure that you are understanding correctly. Maintain attentive and respectful body language. Be honest if they are unable to adequately listen because they’re short on time or focused on something else.

Tolerance – We all bring to our relationships our complete backgrounds, including childhood experiences, education, religious beliefs, and values. We have to accept that not everyone has the same perspective. It doesn’t make them wrong; it only makes them different.

Understand other’s point of view – Don’t just show that your listening and understanding the words and concepts. Really put yourself in the other person’s shoes so you can emotionally appreciate their wants, needs, and interests.

Looking for solutions – You need to be flexible in your approach, and get rid of the all or nothing thinking. You can break ground by highlighting the common goals. You can minimize the emotional positions by focusing on the wants, needs, and interests of all concerned.

Creative Thinking – Many times a solution to a conflict requires creative thinking, so remain open and curious during difficult discussions. Many of us have a difficult time, however, being creative. Our daily tasks encourage us to be ritualistic, methodical, and predictable because it makes life easier; however, when faced with a conflict, it’s usually time to put in gear our creative thinking.

Reaching out – Collaborative problem solving is the most effective way to manage conflict. You have to let those around you know that you are open to communication, discussion, and joint goals.

Teamwork – As noted, working collaboratively is the most effective way to manage conflict. Understand the skill sets and behaviors of those you work with to reduce conflict and enhance performance. Identify the sharks (people who tend to initiate and escalate conflict), and determine the best way to be aware of and to manage their behavior. Keep the lines of communication open and regular.

Honestly expressing emotions – A healthy relationship is based on all parties being able to honestly express their feelings as well as their wants, needs, and interests. That also includes parties taking responsibility to manage their emotions and behaviors.


Keith Grossman

Grossman Law & Conflict Management


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This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.