AgendaDefining conflictSource of conflictWhat is your conflict style?Conflict resolutionConflict escalatorsConflict reducersKey elementsKey phrases
Defining Conflict- An expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce rewards, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.
ConflictConflict is natural: every relationship that has existed for a certain period of time has experienced conflict. Most conflicts result from one party believing they have something to lose.No matter how good a relationship, there are times when an individuals ideas, needs or goals will not match those of others around him or her.
Conflict Conflict is a fact of life and so are the feelings that accompany it. For example, hurt, anger, frustration, resentment and disappointment are some emotional sources.
Sources of ConflictMisunderstandingsCommunication BarriersConflicts of InterestDependencyNeed for Consensus
What is your conflict style?AvoiderAccommodatorCompetitorCompromiserCollaborator
The Avoider Do you have the tendency to deny, suppress, or put aside differences?Born out of the desire to preserve harmony and prevent upsetting, negative interactions.If resentments grow, the individual will either gradually withdraw or explode resulting in the opposite of harmony.
The AvoiderLearn to speak up respectfully about those things that bother you or about issues which can potentially affect the teams ability to accomplish its goals.Begin with an empathy statement letting the other person know you understand or want to understand how he/she sees and feels about the situation then proceed to tackle the real issue.
The Accommodator Do you yield or subordinate your concerns to those of the other person?This style can grow out of the desire to avoid conflict, or it can be due to the persons belief that his or her rights, feelings, or desires are not as important as those of others.
The AccommodatorIt is admirable to care for others. However, that concern must be accompanied by a corresponding respect for ones own rights, opinions and boundaries.The key principle for the accommodator to learn is balance. It is balance that will assist the accommodator to function without burning out.
The Competitor Do you see each workplace conflict as an opportunity to win? Do you go all out to win, often at the expense of others?This competitiveness can take the form of either overt aggression (rudeness, loud voice, angry facial expressions) or more passive or covert aggression (gossip, back-stabbing, etc.)
The CompetitorLook at the long-term results of falling into the trap of power struggles that never quite end. The truth is, winning is short-lived. Even when you succeed at putting someone else down, the person will typically look for and find ways to even the score.
The CompetitorRecognize that storing anger and looking for ways to pay back keeps you tied to the negative situation and robs you of energy and effectiveness.Learn to confront issues directly, resolve them, and then refuse to hold grudges.The only way to truly win is for everyone involved to leave the table feeling like winners, with each persons concerns having been heard and his/her basic needs having being met.
Compromiser Compromise is typically perceived as a positive step in conflict resolution. However, this is not the best style as opposing sides are left with the task of settling for half a loaf.
CompromiserWhile the splitting the difference strategy has good intentions, it is more effective to become a collaborator.Collaboration requires more time, more commitment, and more creativity but is doable with practice.
CollaboratorWhen you collaborate, you work with the other person to mutually solve the problem in a way that recognizes and honors the goals of each.Be honest and direct, while being considerate.
CollaboratorAvoid emotionally charged words and name-calling.Stick to the topic at hand, citing recent examples.Share responsibility for the solution.Describe the problem in objective terms.Actively listen for what the other person values, and work to help that person achieve those things as diligently as you try to get your own needs met.
Collaborator Adding collaboration to your repertoire of team skills will significantly enhance your effectiveness as a team leader or member.
Conflict ResolutionIdentify the cause/causes of the conflictObtain clarificationDevelop ideasDiscuss possible solutionsAgree on specific action stepsEvaluate and refine the plan
Conflict EscalatorsLack of understandingPassivityAggressivenessPersonality focusNegativityTunnel vision
Lack of Understanding A vast number of conflicts are the result of simple misunderstanding people just didnt listen to each other. What we generally call listening is only impatiently waiting until its our turn to talk. Its a common trait, but one that increases the potential for misunderstanding and conflict.
Passivity Many of us have difficulty saying exactly what we want. Perhaps we think that its rude to ask for something outright, or we are unclear about our own goals. Sometimes we fall into passivity because we think that others should be able to tell us what we want. When we hope people will guess what we want, were not likely to get it.
AggressivenessInstead of hinting, we order people around, often in a demanding, threatening way. We may do this out of mistaken notions about leadership, or we may be hiding our insecurity. Whatever the cause, when we act aggressively, people usually feel angry and resentful. It turns them off and drives them away.
Personality FocusConflict is often attributed to the characteristics or behavior of people rather than to disagreement about an issue.
Unfortunately, when we focus on the faults of others, they usually become defensive and the conflict increases.
NegativityWhen people adopt a negative attitude toward the problem or to the other person or to themselves, this negative attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The conflict is seldom solved effectively.
Tunnel VisionSometimes great conflict is generated around an issue thats just not important. Maintaining a relentless nit-picking focus on the issue that irritates you especially if its not very important is a certain guarantee that the conflict will remain and may even escalate.
Conflict ReducersAttentivenessAssertivenessRespectful ToleranceIssue FocusPositive ExpectationsWide Perspective
Attentive ListeningWhen you listen, you find out what other people want, and youre better able to respond effectively. Listening is not easy. It requires special attention. Your chances of understanding people and avoiding conflicts increase when you really listen.
Attentive ListeningSo STOP what youre doing, and pay attention to other people. LOOK at them, and notice their body language and other non-verbal cues. LISTEN to what that are saying.REFLECT back what you have heard the person say.GET CONFIRMATION of accuracy.
AssertivenessOnce you know what you want, you need to be able to state it clearly, without being either passive or aggressive. Being assertive simply means saying what you mean, firmly but politely, and meaning what you say. When you speak up for yourself, people are far more likely to understand what you want and to respond as you hope.
Respectful ToleranceWhen you have unrealistic expectations of other people and expect them to be perfect, you set yourself up for conflict. Why not give other people the benefit of the doubt? Respect them, as you want them to respect you. Tolerate their imperfections and their inconsistencies. Then youll have less reason to be upset with them.
Issue FocusMost conflicts can be redefined as an issue that affects both people. Focusing on the issue opens the door to resolution because neither party needs to feel defensive, and both can search together for a solution to the problem. Its always best to state the problem as an issue and not attack or blame the other person.
Positive ExpectationsExpect that the problem can be resolved. Affirm that the other person needs and deserves love and approval. And tell yourself that youre valuable and capable. These positive expectations will move you in a conflict-solving direction.
Wide PerspectiveFocus on the history of your relationship and on your future long-term goals. Ask yourself whether the issue youre fighting over will even matter six months or a year from now. If not, set aside your stubbornness, and bow out gracefully. Clarify what is really important to you. Keep your conflicts in perspective.
Key Elements of Conflict ResolutionHow you talkHow you listenHow you respondManaging the processWin-Win solutions
Key PhrasesHelp me understandCan you understand?So what youre saying is?
OEASometimes our problems are just too hard to solve on your own. If you are concerned about a particularly difficult partnership, marriage, relationship or family issue, ther Office of Employee Assistance (OEA) can help you. OEA services are convenient