When I ask students to tell me what conflict means they give me many descriptions. How do you describe it?
They give words like oppressive, frightening, uncomfortable, angst, and so many more words with negative connotations. Once in a while someone will say opportunity. A conflict is a clash of interest, ideas or perspectives. We add the emotion, and fear.
Right now we are seeing a lot of conflict dues to the political climate as well as a pandemic and the protests. How we deal with these and with differing opinions will determine how we move forward. The first step is asking questions to fully understand the situation. Depending on the responses there are different protocols that can be used.When you ask questions and learn how others perceive situations you can build trust and reduce some of the anger and negativity.
In the chart there are 5 ways to resolve conflict and all of them work… sometimes… At specific times and it depends on the desired outcome.When I teach this to the management students or to my clients I change it slightly.
Instead of with withdraw I use the word avoid. Many times as a manager or a parent it is best to let the people involved sort out the situation and for you to not take sides, unless the situation could escalate.and cause more issues. You don’t always have to solve other people’s issues.
I don’t use competing but rather i use the word force. This is when as a manager, or leader you have to make the decision now and it has to be followed for the sake of a project or other concern. This is to be used sparingly unless you are a dictator, or micromanager
Accommodate can be problematic if one person or group has to continuously give in. If you have read Group Think you know the problem. Consensus isn’t always the answer.
People often say let’s compromise we’ll each give in a little. What if you don’t want to give anything? Compromise only works if it is a win win for both parties.
Ideally collaboration is the best way to resolve conflicts because it allows all parties to focus on an outcome or goal. It becomes you and me working together in the same direction to achieve something we both want. Unfortunately all parties have to be willing to work together. Many legal issues are now being resolved using collaborative law. It’s even used in divorces.
What feelings does conflict evoke in you? In a previous newsletter I referred to the emotion wheel. You can see how conflict can increase or decrease feelings.
To learn more email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you additional tips about each method to resolve conflict, including when to use it and when not to use it.
If used correctly differences in ideas and perspectives can lead to greater understanding and new concepts.