Explain how can listening assists you in managing conflict?
Listening cannot help you manage conflicts UNLESS you want to manage a conflict. Most people says they want to do so but are unwilling or unable to pay the price of stopping their emotions, taking a big breath, and trying to put themselves in the place of the other.
Assuming though, that you WANT to resolve or at least manage a conflict here is HOW to listen.
1) Listen as much why what is being said is being said as what is being said. If the person speaking is upset he or she may not say things calmly or civilly. The fact that they are upset should indicate to you that they are heavily invested in the discussion and therefore, you need to understand why they are saying whatever they are saying. The more emotional they are the more likely they are afraid of something happening that they are trying to avoid. Usually they want to "win" because "losing" is too painful. If you can figure out why are are afraid and what they are afraid of, you are half way to understanding their position. For you will find that usually their fears are the same ones you have. And that will help you ignore any "nastiness" they may spew. Most people aren't mean by nature and regret in the long run when they say things that are mean spirited. But most people are fear and respond to threats with force.
2) Defuse the emotions. A good manager of disagreements begins with an assumption that people are just people and will be emotional -- saying things they later regret. But also he or she understands that he or she too, is a just a human being. Therefore, observe the emotion but don't use it or let it use you. Acknowledge it without being dominated by it. How to do this?
When people are excited they speak faster and the exchange of words speeds up. This is negative in two ways -- the faster pace does not allow people to process the information coming at them and; the faster pace does not give the body time to process and remove the chemicals driving the emotional state. In other words, the pace often drives the emotion.
So, to slow things down and thus diffuse potential conflicts:
Ask for restatement or clarification. If the person to whom you are speaking is moving to fast, ask them some question or for clarification. Saying, "I didn't get that" or "What did you mean when you said..." forces them to take a breath and shows you are following them (a sign of respect which adds to the defusing of the situation).
Take pauses if things get heated. "Give me a minute to think about that....": Taking notes and signalling as you write that you are way behind on the notes forces the other person to allow you the time to take notes...again slowing the pace of exchanges.
Ask others to join in. If other people are there don't let the conversation be dominated by too few. Get more people involved by asking another person's opinion.
Be honest about your own emotional state and use it to signal it's time for a break. Most people recognize when others are emotional and respect in most situations a request for a "minute to think."
Finally, along these lines, don't be afraid to walk away, especially if the other person wants to continue the heated exchange. Don't blame them, but take the responsibility upon yourself. "I'm sorry, I can't talk about this anymore at this time, it's too much for me to process quickly. I'll get back to you in a bit..." signals a larger break.
1 hour ago