Here, and everywhere else in the world, youll find conflict. You may not agree with something that someone else said, you may dislike another persons stance on a subject, you may choose to argue with them. But what really is conflict and how can we manage it appropriately?
What is conflict?
Conflict comes from Latin roots com and figere: com meaning together and figere meaning to strike. The dictionary defines "conflict" as " a struggle to resist or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle. A state or condition of opposition; antagonism; discord. A painful tension set up by a clash between opposed and contradictory impulses . " Conflict in its most basic element is a struggle between people with opposing views, who perceive a situation differently. It is the perception that ones goals, aspirations, plans, viewpoints, beliefs and etc are incompatible with anothers.
What causes conflict?
Morton Deutsch, a social psychologist, proposes that there are 6 basic types of issues:
1. Control over resources
6.Nature of relationship between people
I find that you can accurately sum up all these things with one word: differences.
Conflict is concerned with difference. We all will find that our viewpoints and stances are NOT universal, and no matter how you may strive to avoid conflict you will undoubtedly find it. Opposing views, beliefs, etc will lead to conflict.
Bringing people together in social interaction necessarily involves a set of interpersonal dynamics which sooner or later will lead to conflict.
- Promote growth in a relationship
- Allows for healthy release of feelings
- Increases motivation
- Larger/Deeper problems may occur
- Manner in which we approach conflict
- Can lead to stressful events/feelings
-Avoidance and submissive
By avoiding conflict, you usually will not get blamed/rejected but you may hold resentment/anger.
-Move against and dominant
Other people may not push you around if youre being aggressive but this style puts others down and will make you enemies. Needs of an angry speaker: To vent, to get the listeners attention, to be heard, to be understood.
-Moving toward and collaborative
This can be a great style if used properly. You, generally, get more of what you want without making others mad.
Strategies for handling conflict:
Avoiding Strategy: Lose/Lose
Individuals may avoid the conflict by refusing to take a stance, leaving it or ignoring it. Most people that use this tend to hope the issue will go away
Accommodating Strategy: Lose/Win
Individuals attempt to resolve a conflict by giving in to the other party. They usually prefer harmony to conflict.
Competing/Forcing Strategy: Win/Lose
Aggressive/uncooperative attitude- this can turn into a Lose/Lose situation.
Collaborating Strategy: Win/Win
Parties attempt to jointly resolve a conflict with a solution that is agreeable to all parties.
Resolving conflict:1. Acknowledge that a situation exists . 2. Let individuals express their feelings . 3. Define the problem . 4. Determine underlying need . 5. Find common areas of agreement, no matter how small . 6. Find solutions to satisfy needs. 7. Determine follow-up you will take to monitor actions. 8. Determine what you'll do if the conflict goes unresolved .
TIPS:Choose your battles carefully Be calm and avoid loaded words and put downs Do not blame others or make accusations Do not demand- instead request Avoid statements such as always/never Listen without judging Take responsibility for your words/actions Dont be afraid to apologize