Conflict Resolution…

24 May

Conflict Resolution

I have been wanting to write an article about this for some time. Conflicts can easily occur throughout our lives under various guises. My theory is that there are two different styles of conflict resolutions that can generally occur – which then branch out into sub-categories. 9 times out of 10 we seek to resolve our conflicts as soon as possible. In an effort to do so, we try to come up with ways that will settle a dispute amicably..therefore, conflict resolution can either be Constructive or Destructive.

Destructive Style – hinders or inhibits the conflict resolution process:

* Confrontational (win or lose, blaming)
* Sabotage (focus on weak points, shaming)
* Manipulation (blackmail, withdrawal)
* Giving in (passive, submissive)
* Avoidance (denial, withdrawal)

Constructive Style – trying to minimize the issues and avoiding the difficulties in resolving the problems:

* Compromise (meet halfway, understanding)
* Accommodate (open discussion, communication without confrontation)
* Partnership (solutions, forgiveness, honesty)

When trying to resolve conflicts, try to clarify your goals, as you will probably share many of the same goals despite your differences. Avoid bargaining, as this may lead to each party taking a rigid position which in turn can flare tempers.

When resolving conflicts, remember that their causes may run deep. Sweeping issues under the carpet isn’t going to work in the long term, as old baggage will be brought up each time an argument starts. Try to fully resolve each issue as it comes along. You may find the following method useful:

1. Ask the other person for their feelings. Your conflict probably isn’t about the issue that caused it to start in the first place. Don’t forget that your goal is sorting out the problem, not winning an argument! Sometimes losing can be winning too.

2. Ask the other person to define the problem. Stick to solving one problem at a time, that way you can understand each problem as the other person sees it.

3. Express your own feelings. Be careful to word them carefully, for example use phrases such as “I feel…” rather than “I think you…”

4. Define the problem as you see it. As your feelings come out, the solution may become clearer. Remember that by you listening to the other person; you will have set the tone for them to listen to you.

5. Create multiple solutions. Don’t go back to your original agenda. Aim to find alternative or creative solutions that reduce emotions and tension.

6. Rate the possible solutions. Remember that no one can force an unacceptable solution on the other.

7. Combine and create a mutually acceptable solution. Create something acceptable to both parties, if this doesn’t work – go back to step 1 and ensure both parties are being totally honest.

8. Be sure both parties agree to work towards resolving the issue.


Troubleshooting For Common Problems in Communication

Control or Power Issues: Effective communication cannot take place if one person has “control” over the other or where there is not mutual respect and equality of relationship. To stay in control leads to relational isolation as the underdog reacts in anger at being manipulated or belittled. So why go there? just care to differ. Its easier on both parties.


Triangulation
: Do not bring in a third party to avoid direct confrontation. If you have a problem with someone, go directly to that person where possible.

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2 Responses to “Conflict Resolution…”

  1. Margaret 24/05/2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Barbara,
    I like how you have divided the approaches to conflict into constructive and destructive. Thank you

    • justbarbara 24/05/2010 at 10:23 pm #

      No probs Margaret, I thought it was good to compartmentalise the approaches :)) glad you liked it lol 🙂

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