The Pause…Important in Conflict Prevention

The pause is an important and often overlooked step in conflict prevention.

Learning about conflict and strategies and techniques for helping people resolve conflict in organizations also meant that I would benefit from being better equipped for resolving conflict in my own life. What I didn’t anticipate, and has been of exceptional value to me, is that my learning about conflict resolution has resulted in conflict prevention too. When I integrated the conflict resolution learning deeply in my leadership approach, those same skills helped me to develop the capacity to apply the same approaches to conflict prevention too.

Conflict Prevention. An important skill to have.

Conflict prevention is worth investing in for many reasons. Conflict always requires energy. Often the energy taken up by conflict is not over quickly and easily. It takes a toll over time…on energy, on resources, on well being of the individuals and of the organization.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you had the energy available when you don’t have to deal with so much conflict. Applying knowledge about conflict prevention successfully diverts the situation into one that is more life nurturing rather than the life depleting drain of conflict.

An important leadership skillset is conflict prevention. No, I am not advocating for conflict avoidance. If faced with conflict personally or professionally, conflict avoidance only adds to your stress. Rather, I am advocating for you to increase your skills in conflict prevention.

The Pause. A simple technique.

One useful technique for conflict prevention is to declare a ‘pause’. On the weekend, I heard a friend say ‘please give me space on my own so that I can regroup’. The situation was one that was high stress, her emotions were running rampant, and she knew that if she declared her need for a pause, that she herself had the skills and knowledge to avoid escalating the situation into conflict. She just needed the space and silence to do so.

She declared the pause. Others respected the pause. Everyone involved knew about the value of the pause. The pause didn’t last too long before she had regrouped and we all continued to work on the project.

Through her knowledge of conflict resolution, she had come to know about conflict prevention. Declaring a pause may sound so simple, and yet this is not common practice in our families, our organizations, our communities. I encourage you to add ‘the pause’ as a technique for conflict prevention. And to have the courage to use this technique at home and in your organization. You may even have an awareness-raising session in your group to invite the group to become aware of ‘the pause’ as a technique for everyone to use as needed…framing it as a conflict prevention technique.

Learning more about Conflict Resolution

I also encourage you to learn about conflict, conflict resolution, and cross cultural conflict resolution. This will help in conflict prevention as well as conflict resolution situations. One of the modules of the Genuine Contact Program, Cross Cultural Conflict Resolution, provides great value in developing your leadership in working with conflict and conflict prevention. This module is available:

  • as a Self-Study + one to one mentoring for private study anytime
  • as a Self-Study + real-time workshop for group learning

It is offered as one module in the series for developing leadership with meetings.


Image by Thomas Breher from Pixabay

Birgitt Williams
Follow Birgitt Williams:
Birgitt Williams is an international management and organizational solutions consultant, author, meeting facilitator, teacher, keynote speaker and executive coach. Her business focus is to create inspiring work environments that are highly effective in achieving their purpose and fulfilling their vision.

Leave a Reply