The ability to effectively handle conflicts can not only maintain relationships at home or work, it often strengthens the respect between both parties. Community services workers work with a wide array of clients, including those with physical and mental disabilities. Differences of opinion regularly arise, which is why training programs focus on conflict resolution strategies.
Clients may not feel physically or mentally capable of carrying out daily tasks, or disagreements may have occurred between them and friends or family. Community services workers must avoid becoming frustrated during these challenging times. It’s all a matter of maintaining composure, and looking at the situation from everybody’s point of view.
Here’s how to make sure you can do this effectively during your career.
Stay Composed with the Client and Establish a Positive Discourse
When a conflict arises, it’s important to establish some background and recognize why there’s tension. Take a metaphorical step back from the situation and consider what the difference of opinion is, and the gap between the two parties.
You may be working with a family in distress after community services worker training, where the mother, father and children have different needs which they want addressed. Encourage them to take deep breaths and consider whether there are any solutions which will appease everybody.
Remember, silences aren’t uncomfortable in conflict resolution, they are very important. There’s no point in saying anything if it isn’t constructive. A quiet moment allows everybody to reflect on the situation and generate positive solutions.
Recognize Potential Biases and Ensure They Don’t Become Problematic
Most people have a tendency towards stubbornness, believing that we know what’s best for ourselves and others. Another key tenet of conflict resolution is to get clients to consider our own biases and assess whether they are an obstacle to progress. Community service workers can play an important role as a mediator by helping people to understand situations from another point of view.
These people may believe that a situation is irretrievable, but they need to be reminded of how much they have in common with their opposite party. They may soon establish that they share the same goals and will be much more likely to work towards achieving them.
Community Services Worker College Graduates Know the Value of Good Communication
Positive communication is about much more than speaking with clarity. It’s about active listening as well, where you understand the points that your clients are trying to make. They must also know that their thoughts are respected, and this can be done by intermittently nodding or vocally affirming that you’re listening to what they’re saying.
‘I’ statements are also important in conflict resolution for explaining personal thoughts. It helps people to concentrate on their own feelings rather than being critical of the behaviour of others. Clients should be encouraged to speak in these terms by graduates of a community services worker program.
The Benefits of Effective Conflict Management
Taking the right steps when it comes to conflict management can generate all kinds of wonderful benefits. Bottling up grievances serves nobody well and could eventually lead to mental health distress. Conflict resolution is an avenue to address those issues and build a more positive relationship between, and with, clients. The problem-solving and communication skills of everybody involved develops after these positive discussions, and they are much more likely to stay composed when future disagreements arise.