Listening Skills in Conflict Management

Published: 2019-06-24 08:00:00
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Listening has evolved to be an important focus of studies only with the start of conflict resolution although it belongs to a concept of the field of interpersonal, oral communication. Conflict resolution has emerged as an attractive area the past three decades. This resulted from developments in transport technology and the substantial opportunities it provided for global economic and political relations. The drastic developments observed in the industry of carriage has been fueled by the growing awareness of the demerits if of traditional negotiations that are based on positional bargaining and the search for more productive bargaining methods that mutually benefits the parties involved. These recent days, conflict resolution is a concept applied to a variety of circumstances. For instance, ethnic conflicts on an international scale, for example, there was tension between the Croats, Serbs, and the Bosnians during the awakening of the 1995 war; local disagreements, for example, clashes between management and workers. Interpersonal conflicts such as roommates in the same residence. Conflict resolution has drawn attention to the techniques that can be used to achieve it. This writing will investigate how effective listening is related to conflict resolution CITATION Kra01 \l 1033 (Kraybill, 2001).

Effective listening or rather active listening is the most imperative and also efficient tool of bargaining and mediating. Listening as a means of conflict resolution generates the comprehension of the others distresses, which will determine how to base for the exploration of mutually acceptable solutions and eventually having a solution for the conflict. For one to achieve that understanding, effective listening has to address the common challenges that are in oral communication. There are ways to help tackle communication problems including explaining, summarizing, paraphrasing and recognizing the need for awareness to overcome communication barrier. In addition to having an understanding, listening demonstrates that were comprehend that other and thus building trust amongst the parties. The effectiveness of listening relies on peoples understanding of the listening problems we have. And increasing the awareness listening challenges can overcome the inner limitations that shape the perception of the world we are living.

Objectives of effective listening

Effective listening can be defined as the listening with full attention and with an open mind. It aims at bringing an understanding of the other party on a much deeper level than in a casual ever day communication. For one to try and solve a conflict, and come up with neutral grounds or common points, on has to have the concerns of every party as possible. And again to obtain an understanding on has to be aware of the features of communication for like dodging and hasty failing. These two can be used discretely for the concerned parties to gain exact and detailed idea the opposing partys apprehensions.

Methods of paying attention have an important function that show that one has listened and is still willing to listen actively. In a conflict, more often communication go pear-shaped because each party is concerned with their argument too much such that no one pays attention to the other. No one in the party perceives the other to pay attention to their arguments. A basic human need was defined by R. Kraybill in his book as the need to feel recognized and accepted by others in the community one is living in (87). Empathy builds trusts, and it encourages the parties to share their bargains more openly. With that in mind, effective listening can be used as a tool to promote significant aspects pertaining communication that are speaking and listening.

Clarification as a technique to effective listening

Clarification constitutes of queries that aim to clear vagueness bringing in further comprehension of the other parties motives and concerns CITATION Fis91 \l 1033 (Fisher, 1991). Misinterpretation or inadequate information presents an enormous barrier to understanding each others concerns thus the role played by clarification in resolving conflicts is significant. There exist four categories of questions one can ask to attain effective listening: opener questions like What do you find as the main issue here? the can be used to start the conversation as they request for general information. Then the party should follow up with questions like Would you explain in a more detailed way? for him or her to gain a better view of the situation and maybe reveal the other dimensions or solutions of the problem in hand.

The person who is clarifying should address vagueness in a message and make the meaning more precise. This view is a merit of clarification as it's able to resolve misunderstanding that arises from bypassing. By passing as defined by D. Gouran occurs when two people either both of them use the same term although referring to two different aspects or similar aspects. Clarification or being explicit is a crucial tool to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding while laying common grounds. As far as we dont assume connotations share by peoples opposing parties, clarification will assist us to identify the actual disparities and similarities in meaning and can be a useful tool for the building of understanding and resolving disputes.


This is restating what the other party has said in their words. Paraphrasing has several functions that are used in mediation or positional bargaining. First, restating communicates understanding. Next it stimulates more reflective responses, third it provides a buffer between statements and assists the parties involved in expressing their views. Paraphrasing accentuates the content of the message been communicated and moderates its emotional burden. For real understanding to be conveyed, paraphrasing should never be the verbatim repetition of the statement spelled out by the other party. It should always be a rephrase to what the individual understands and interprets. Repetition depends on memorization instead of understanding thus it does a little in trying to convince the opposing party that people actively involve oneself in the dialogue. Also, repetition is an unmistakable method, and sometimes it becomes exasperating.

Lantieri in his book recounts an instance of a persistent initiate in energetic listening whose extreme use of repetition after her first training session led her husband to irritation: he thought she needed to repeat things she was not listening to him. In contrast, paraphrasing not only demonstrates an earnest effort to understand the opposing party but also to clarify the vagueness and elaborates where one may have had misinterpretations. Paraphrasing is a tool to help test peoples understanding to contents that we may have not understood. An excellent restatement should be able to move to a deeper level; the level that brings an idea into consideration and stimulates the participants to discuss. When there is a situation that one of the parties has difficulties when expressing its basis of concepts, the paraphrase can present them in a clear and easy to get a form that is coherent. More so, paraphrasing introduces a pause between consecutive statements that provides the parties with an image on each of the statements and decide over their appropriate responses. Last but not the least paraphrasing emphasizes on the content of the declaration.

At the same time, it reduces the emotion influence accompanied with it, prompting the other party to consider the points in the statements rather than react impulsively to its attitude. For instance, in a relationship conflict: I could have helped out this idiot if he wasnt so hell-bent on making decisions this could be paraphrased as So you are sad about the relationship but you think working together may be possible under different conditions? CITATION Elg95 \l 1033 (Elgin, 1995). The wrong choice of words, abusive language, and verbal attacks influence peoples willingness to listen actively. Peoples attention is swamped by the emotional responses they cause, anger and resentment as examples CITATION Sev01 \l 1033 (Severin, 2001). Paraphrasing is significant in resolving disputes and is also a crucial tool for attaining effective listening and communication at large.

The need for consciousness

Farrel noted that the primary barrier to effective listening is the inherent nature of the manner of listening. The two active listening modus operandi described so far derive from peoples awareness of the nature of communication processes like the need for rephrasing while speaking tackled by summarizing and paraphrasing, identifying feelings as a distinct channel of facts hollow out. Unconscious prediction accounts for the influence of an individuals experiences, beliefs and prospects on his or her insights. H. J Brown provides an adequate summary of the issue: We do not see things as they are CITATION Bar01 \l 1033 (Barker, 2001.) We view things as we are. While its almost impossible to free people from the limitations that experiences and principles inflict on peoples expectations, people are left with no choice but become aware of their actuality and gain control over them before they can gain knowledge of to listen actively. Inversely, people have to make unconscious projection conscious and find out how they can reduce it.

Barker observed that: Many of suggestions could be categorized as pure common sense.

They are aspects about which one says, Everyone knows that! The vital tool for building listening culture is to be sensitive to what you are doing while listening. (75) Consequently, the key to gaining awareness of listening constraints is to recognize the need for awareness. Other techniques for attaining an active listening include showing genuine caring for instance when discussing trivial topics on sports or weather it is not advised to show a great deal of concern. As the arguments get more deep and emotional, painful or even potentially intimidating, one should adopt a genuine and more caring attitude. Not many share their immediate thoughts or feelings unless they feel someone listening to them is caring enough. Settling down their own emotional reaction, listening for feelings, commenting on the subject occasionally, and reading nonverbal messages are also a technique to attaining effective listening CITATION Bar01 \l 1033 (Barker, 2001.). By insinuation, people cannot comprehend anyone else or hear what they have to say unless they are prepared to set aside own trepidations and stop trying to express messages, be still, and listens.

It has been observed that techniques of effective listening recognize common challenges in CITATION Elg95 \l 1033 (Elgin, 1995)intercommunication and offer applied tactics to their resolution. Conflict resolution pursues to provide a more practical way to deal with disputes. Nevertheless, attaining the understanding of the other party and building a feeling of trust are not just the basics for a successful outcome of the positional bargaining, they have the power to change the assertiveness and the interactions of all partakers in the bargaining process. Lantieri and Patti call effective listening, in its most profound sense as the listening with the heart CITATION Lan96 \l 1033 (Lantieri, 1996.). The process of actual listening to conflict resolution exceeds both the obstacles and that create differences amongst the parties with other parties, and also the barriers that remain to exist within each one of us. Thus, this becomes a process of personal transformation and in this sense that effective listening produces its most long-lasting effect on conflict resolution.




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