One way to manage anger is to realize that conflict is a natural part of life, and that it does not necessarily lead to fighting and negative emotions. There are ways in which to deal with conflict constructively in order to resolve disputes amicably, instead of allowing the situation to get out of hand.

The next time you have a disagreement with someone, try to resolve the problem by applying these five techniques:

1. Sit Down to Discuss the Issue and Establish Ground Rules
2. Develop the Skill of Active Listening
3. Practice Empathy
4. Learn to Express Yourself
5. Look for a Solution to the Conflict that is Favorable to Both Sides

These five techniques are explained in detail below.

Sit Down to Discuss the Issue and Establish Ground Rules

When you sit down with someone in an attempt to resolve a disagreement, you should start out by establishing ground rules to create a space of tolerance and respect in which you can both iron out your differences. In many instances the problem is not so much the nature of the dispute itself; instead, the problem is the way in which those differences are handled.

Ground rules can include things such as the following:

• Each side will take turns speaking, and each one will get an equal amount of time to speak.

• When one person is talking they cannot be interrupted by the other. If the other person hears something that they want to respond to and it’s not their turn to speak, they should write it down and wait until it’s their turn to say it.

• Just try to resolve the issue at hand. If there are other issues that need to be discussed, set a later time to talk about them.

• Refrain from using phrases such as “You always . . .”, or “You never . . .” People rarely “always” do something or “never” do something, and phrases like these just put the other person on the defensive.

• Try not to blame the other person, speak for the other person, or speculate about their motives; accept that you do not know the other person’s intent.

• Refrain from name-calling.

• Each side should strive to take responsibility for their contribution to the conflict. Remember the saying: “It takes two to tango.”

• Treat each other with respect.

Develop the Skill of Active Listening

Active listening will help you to understand the message the other person is trying to convey. When it’s the other person’s turn to speak make sure that you remain focused on what they’re saying instead of rehearsing in your head what you’re going to say next.

Use paraphrasing to make sure that you understand what the other person is saying. Paraphrasing basically means that when the other person is finished talking you repeat in your own words what you heard them say. You can use a phrase like the following: “I’m going to repeat in my own words what I just heard you say to make sure that I understand what you’re saying. Please correct me if I misinterpret anything you’ve said.” Encourage the other person to elaborate on what they’re saying and to get everything they’re feeling off their chest; ask for clarifying information.

Practice Empathy

Try to see the world from the perspective of the other person; put yourself in the shoes of the other. Be curious about the other person and about the thinking process that they followed to reach their conclusions. We all see the world differently based on our personal filters, our background, our experiences, and our belief system. Seek to understand how the other person sees the world, their motivations, and their aspirations.

Learn to Express Yourself

In resolving any disagreement with another it’s important not only that you listen to the other person and try to understand where they’re coming from, but that you also express how you feel and let the other person know what you really want. Tell them what you’re experiencing, what your desires are, what’s important to you, and how you feel.

Look for a Solution to the Conflict that is Favorable to Both Sides

During any conversation in which you're trying to resolve a disagreement, the aim should be to identify each side's interests. In other words, instead of focusing on positions-where each side takes a firm stance as to exactly what it is that they've decided they want--each side should express their interests; that is, the needs, concerns, desires, fears, and aspirations that underlie each side's position.

Once you’ve identified each side’s interests you can come up with creative ways to satisfy them. Stop looking for a single best answer-- come up with as many solutions as possible--and don’t assume that there’s a fixed pie.

The goal is for each party to walk away feeling understood and that an effective plan has been agreed upon for resolving the dispute and moving forward. Both of you need to have a clear understanding of exactly what the agreement entails and commit yourselves to upholding each one’s side of the bargain. Try to think of ways to make sure that this problem, and others like it, won’t arise again in the future.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Marelisa Fábrega. For more information on anger management visit her Squidoo lens ”Anger Management Tips,Techniques,and Resources”.