This is a great quote to get us started on this topic of conflict and disputes: ‘Conflict is inevitable but combat is optional’.
I’d love you to future pace you … imagine just for a minute what your world would look if you could feel at ease with an uncomfortable conversation, smile in the face of conflict and resolve even the most challenging disputes?
I want to let you know a couple of things from the onset I know can absolutely happen when it comes to conflict and disputes:
• It is possible to stop struggling with conflict and disputes and having sleepless nights about them
• You can master conflict and disputes so that it doesn’t affect your health and happiness
• You can put an end to unnecessary stress & anxiety
• You can learn the easy tools you need to make conflict and disputes your SUPERPOWER
But guess what, it starts with you. Do you actually want to be able to deal with conflicting situations better, do you want to stop putting off disputes that cause so much discomfort and ultimately affecting your health? Are you ready to shine the spotlight on yourself and do the work to become confident and competent in the face of conflict and disputes?
If so, let’s get started then…
4 WAYS TO MAKE CONFLICT AND DISPUTES YOUR SUPERPOWER
1. DEMONSTRATE EMPATHY
Empathy is a ‘respectful understanding of what another is experiencing’. It is crucial to conflict resolution. Empathy means stepping into the other party’s shoes and seeing their view of the conflict situation through their eyes, and not through your eyes. A simple and effective way to demonstrate Empathy is by paraphrasing what the person has said and reflecting back on associated feelings.
As such, an empathetic response might be a statement like: ‘So, you’re really unhappy at the moment because you think I should have done something about that late rental payment-is that right?’ (and then genuinely waiting for confirmation that you have read the situation accurately).
Showing empathy does not mean that you agree with the other person and it does not mean that you have to accept what they are saying. It simply entails that you acknowledge the issue and any frustration that goes with it. You then need to suggest a reasonable
course of action to deal with the situation. By doing this in a calm and reasonable way we can often diffuse a conflict situation quite quickly and get the other party to work with us to achieve the “win-win” we are looking for.
How to Put Empathy Into Practice during conflict
Become Self-Aware. When you feel that conflict is about to erupt, what is your first thought? Do you instantly start blaming the other person or do you express prejudices? Check in with your reactions before responding.
Work On Seeing the Similarities Between Yourself and the Other Person. Can you identify with their needs and interests? Is it possible to understand that they may have experienced something difficult or uncomfortable or are you able to see some of their emotions in yourself? By doing this, you bring the person closer to you instead of creating further barriers that stop you from constructively resolving or preventing conflict.
Learn to Listen. Let the other person speak about their point of view. Acknowledge their difficulties. Confirm that you have heard their emotions and encourage them to trust you enough to be vulnerable. Things to avoid doing are giving advice, justifying yourself, explaining, shutting down what they are saying because you find it uncomfortable or diverting the conversation to your own experience.
2. DEVELOP YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The ability to manage all of your feelings appropriately, is the basis of a communication process that can resolve conflict. Our first reaction to any difficult situation is generally emotional. In times of conflict, this emotional reaction can take over and control the process. The goal is to use an increased awareness of our emotions to more effectively manage our interactions with others, especially in stressful situations.
Emotional awareness helps you to:
· Understand what is really troubling other people
· Understand yourself, including what is really troubling you, what are you believing
· Stay motivated until the conflict is resolved
· Allows you to Communicate clearly and effectively
· By showing Interest in someone it allows you influence others
So in a practical sense how can you master your emotional intelligence?
· Take a few deep breaths and smile before you answer – this can immediately be off putting, the person on the other end will sense your energy, which is calm and friendly
· Listen before reacting – some people just want to be heard, need a vent
· Apologise that they are unhappy/upset/angry –– just apologise they are ‘feeling so unhappy about the situation’ – this is so off putting and unexpected they conflict generally fizzles out after that.
· Come back to them if you don’t have the answers, apologise ‘I am sorry I can’t help you out right now, but I will come back to you with a solution ….
· If you get an angry email, don’t react immediately because you will respond emotionally- Walk away don’t react
· Think about the language you are using – avoid ‘I’ and ‘you’ – assigns blame and pits you as opponents in a conflict – you don’t want this – you want to be on the same team and partners working to resolve the conflict or problem – so use us and we – We need to work together to fix this, allow us to help find a solution
· Stick to facts – avoid getting personal and leave personal feelings aside (we’ve all had people rub us the wrong way)
· Draft an email with what you’d like to say and then edit using your emotional intelligence – don’t accidentally hit send …
When you are meeting someone in person and there is potential for conflict – don’t sit opposite them, sit side by side or at the end of the table if you are in a coffee shop setting. A table in the middle is like an invisible battle line, it instantly puts you on opposite sides and you feel the barrier between you.
Smile a lot and nod encouragement when the other person opens up about the situation.
Agree to disagree – in order to do this you need to let go of being right or proving the other person wrong – this is the greatest emotionally intelligent shift you’ll ever make.
3. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Mindset has become such a popular topic – if there was ever an industry that needed a mindset shift it is property management. In my experience, there is a lot of fixed mindsets in this industry, but it is slowly changing as we have more open conversations around it … There is a lot of coaches recognising we need to make a collective shift as an industry …
There are essentially two types of Mindsets – Fixed and Growth. So let’s dive in and take a closer look at them both … I’m sure as I outline the traits of each you will know exactly which one you are.
A growth mindset is the understanding that abilities can be developed. Those with a growth mindset believe that they can get smarter, and more talented through putting in time and effort. They view failure as opportunities to learn and grow.
On the flip side, a fixed mindset is one that assumes abilities and understanding are relatively fixed. Those with a fixed mindset may not believe that intelligence can be enhanced, or that you either, have it or you don’t, when it comes to abilities and talents.
Someone with a growth mindset will say things like:
I learn from feedback
I see failure as an opportunity to grow and learn
I can learn new things
I embrace challenges
Verses someone with a fixed mindset:
I avoid challenges
I give up easily
I am either good at something or I’m not
Someone is right and someone is wrong
We all struggle with conflict, but the path to becoming conflict competent is to first adopt the right mindset, learn the skills and practice. In order to resolve conflict and disputes effectively, you need to sit on the Growth Mindset side of the fence.
HOW TO DEVELOP A GROWTH MINDSET
1. Create a new compelling belief: a belief in yourself, in your own skills and abilities, and in your capacity for positive change. – we dive deep into this next.
2. View failure in a different light: see failure as an opportunity to learn from your experiences and apply what you have learned next time around.
3. Cultivate your self awareness: work on becoming more aware of your talents, strengths, and weaknesses; gather feedback from those who know you best and put it together for a comprehensive view of yourself.
4. Get friendly with challenges: know that if you mean to accomplish anything worthwhile, you will face many challenges on your journey; prepare yourself for facing these challenges, and for failing sometimes.
5. Be tenacious: it takes a lot of hard work to succeed, but it takes even more than working hard, you must be tenacious, weathering obstacles and getting back up after each time you fall.
Mindset is literally everything ….
4. END THE LOOP – FIND THAT SOLUTION
The final way you can make conflict and disputes your superpower is by simply offering a solution. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and remembered something you hadn’t done for a client that you promised to do? Well, this is because that thing you didn’t do, will constantly loop around in your mind until you actually do it … it’s a scientific thing …this is why to-do lists are so important for property managers – imagine all the little tasks you need to do on a daily, weekly – you’d never sleep with all that looping around in your mind.
Stress from unresolved disputes stays in your body and the only way to get rid of this stress is to find a solution to your dispute. No matter how difficult, painful or embarrassing a dispute is, you need to find a solution, if for no other reason, but for your health.
How do you find a solution – is it really that easy? I have a worksheet on Dispute Resolution for Property Managers in my FREE RESOURCES section download it and see how easy it is to find a solution.
The most important thing is, DON’T PUT THEM OFF, deal with your disputes otherwise they become much bigger issues, causing you much more stress than is required and potentially escalating the conflict with your avoidance.
End the loop and finding a solution is possible, here are some final quick steps to help your resolve even the most difficult disputes. Dispute resolution is the biggest superpower or super skill property managers need to develop.
TOP TIPS FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION:
Listen – hear the other person out, sometimes they just need to vent or be heard.
Breathing – take some deep breaths to get your emotions in check.
Logic/Thought – think about what is really the issue, without all the emotion or the limiting beliefs.
Time/Space – take some time out and space to think. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have a solution and you need some time to think about it, take a time out and come back to them.
Seek help – ask your team, team leader for help, there is a wealth of knowledge and advice in your office.
If this blog has really resonated and struck a chord with you and you would like a deep dive into everything stress, conflict and dispute related, then I’d love to invite you to join our Real Estate Retreat.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR REAL ESTATE RETREAT HERE
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