Conflict- It's All Around Us
Conflict is a feature of almost every relationship and can lead to constructive as well as destructive outcomes. Conflict can help you discover how you can build more cooperative relationships. In most cases, conflict is an opportunity that can be managed to produce positive results.
Clues That Conflict Resolution May Be Required
- Do you feel pressured, annoyed, or angry when interacting with a certain individual?
- Do you sometimes dread having to see this person at work or in social situations?
- Are you becoming more irritable at work, at home, or in social situations due to your tensions with this person?
- Have you thought about quitting your job as a result of the situation with the individual?
If you said yes to one or more of the above questions, you have identified signs that efforts toward conflict resolution are called for.
Some Ground Rules for Resolving Conflict
Ground rules for conflict resolution can ensure that process to be positive and as fair as possible. Your ground rules may include:
- Choose an appropriate time to deal with the conflict. Avoid late afternoon, the end of a shift, or just before a weekend.
- Keep interactions respectful. Avoid blaming, put-downs, and name calling. Negative remarks just encourage a defensive response.
- Avoid generalizations such as "You always" or "You never" and be aware of your tone when attempting to resolve conflict.
- Never takes notes during the discussion. Note-taking inhibits the development of spontaneity and openness.
- Be willing to make concessions. Conceding on one or two areas of disagreement will create an atmosphere of cooperation and help build a relationship that will last beyond the conflict resolution session.
A Ten-Step Model for Conflict Resolution
- Establish privacy and ensure there will be no distrctions during the discussion.
- Keep in mind that no negtiation is possible in the midst of out of control behavior.
- Take a moment to collect your thoughts. Then speak in a calm, professional manner.
- Appeak to reason and fairness. Use non-accusing and non-blaming messages.
- Present the facts and focus on solutions instead of problems.
- Ask the other person for thoughts on how to resolve the problem.
- Reassure the other person that you value his or her opinions.
- Reach an agreement and express confidence in the plan.
- Establish "touch base" points to review progress.
- Review and adapt...if necessary to bring closure to the matter.
Alignment in Conflict Resolution
Phrases to use when attempting to resolve conflict:
- "This is obviously very important to you."
- "I want you to know it's important to me too."
- "I believe if we work together we can resolve it."
With a Volatile or Angry Person
"When you lose your temper...you lose!"
- Don't react in the heat of the moment.
- Remain quiet until the person has "wound down."
- Allow the person to fully express his or her feelings and viewpoints.
- Don't make accusing statements or harsh remarks...they will only fuel the fire!
- Treat the person with respect.
Don't hesitate to seek support and reinforcement if you have the opportunity.