Even if you have the best intentions, you may disagree with others. This may lead to a conflict where both of you feel angry, upset, misunderstood, or helpless. The following suggestions may help you resolve differences so that you may continue with a relationship effectively.
Truths of Conflict Resolution
Types of Conflicts
Aspects of Conflict
Making it Better or Worse
Conflict usually escalates when:
Conflict usually decreases when:
Conflict Management Styles
Controlling: When you use the controlling style, you manage conflict by hard bargaining or in terms of "might makes right." Someone whose conflict management style is controlling pursues personal concerns at another's expense. If you conflict with someone who uses the controlling conflict management style, you may need to stand up for your rights, defend a position that you believe is correct, or simply try to win. The controlling style of conflict management works well when you need to act quickly or when you believe you are correct. On the other hand, the controlling style of conflict management intimidates people, and they may be afraid either to admit to problems or to give you important information.
Collaborating: When you use the collaborating style, you manage conflict by negotiating and may believe that two heads are better than one. When collaborating you work with others to explore their disagreement, generate alternatives, and find a mutually satisfying solution. The collaborating style of conflict management allows you to learn from another's perspective. It can be helpful when you need a decision that addresses both parties' concerns. On the other hand, the collaborating style of conflict management may be unsuitable either for minor decisions or when time is limited.
Compromising: When you use the compromising style, you manage conflict by splitting the difference so that the solution partially satisfies both parties. The compromising style of conflict management is useful when other styles fail, for fast decision-making on minor disagreements, or when two equally strong parties commit to mutually exclusive goals. On the other hand, the compromising style of conflict management may cause you to lose sight of larger issues and values and may not please everyone.
Accommodating: When you use the accommodating style, you manage conflict by soft bargaining or "killing your enemy with kindness." When you use the accommodating style, you yield to another person's point of view and pay attention to his or her concerns while neglecting your own. The accommodating style is useful when you see that you are wrong or when harmony is most important to you. However, if you use the accommodating style, others may not address your concerns.
Avoiding: When you use the Avoiding style, you manage conflict by leaving well enough alone or by not addressing the conflict. You may either withdraw from the situation or postpone confrontation. The Avoiding style of conflict is useful when confrontation may be dangerous or damaging, when an issue is unimportant, or when a situation needs to cool down, or when you need more time to prepare. On the other hand, if you use the Avoiding style of conflict management, issues may go unaddressed.
Improving Conflict Skills
Once you have determined your goal and your conflict management style, you may now wonder how you can resolve the conflict as you planned. Conflict resolution is highly dependent upon good communication skills. Active listening results in effective communication and conflict resolution.
Conflict Resolution Process:
Before the confrontation, ask yourself
What are my specific concerns?
How does the conflict affect me?
What is important to me?
What would improve the situation for me?
During the confrontation set the tone
Summarize new understandings
Brainstorm alternative solutions