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Managing Conflict (Others and Self)

“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” — Max Lucade
First and foremost, you must learn to accept conflict as an inevitable part of your social interactions. How you respond to and resolve conflict will limit or enable your success.

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Managing Conflict (Others and Self)

  1. 1. MANAGING A Presentation by: Tirsah N. Holder, M.A. Psychological Consultant
  2. 2. Sources of Conflict • Goals. Conflict can happen as a result of conflicting goals or priorities. It can also happen when there is a lack of shared goals. • Personality conflicts. Personality conflicts are a common cause of conflict. Sometimes there is no chemistry, or you haven’t figured out an effective way to deal with somebody. • Scarce resources. Conflict can happen when you’re competing over scarce resources. • Styles. People have different styles. Your thinking style or communication style might conflict with somebody else’s thinking style or their communication style. • Values. Sometimes you will find conflict in values. The challenge here is that values are core. Adapting with styles is one thing, but dealing with conflicting values is another. That’s why a particular business, group, or culture may not be a good fit for you. It’s also why ―birds of a feather flock together‖ and why ―opposites attract, but similarities bind.‖
  3. 3. Conflict? We reflexively tend to think of the term ―conflict‖ in the negative. When we discuss conflict we speak of it (often unwittingly) as a diminishing force on relationships and productivity which only compounds the challenges of understanding self and others in achieving set goals. When conflict becomes an on-going challenge it will cripple progression.
  4. 4. The Cost Factor • There are a variety of direct costs associated with poorly managed conflict. Emotions can run high and individuals suffer. The impact of this is more difficult to calculate but no less serious. • In the worst cases, there is the loss of relationships among friends, peers, colleagues and clients/customers.
  5. 5. The Time Factor • One that is visible to everyone is the time taken to successfully resolve issues. Time that would be better spent on accomplishing work and achieving goals is instead used to manage disagreements and smooth ruffled feathers.
  6. 6. What is to be will be ...and conflict will be “Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” — Max Lucade • First and foremost, you must learn to accept conflict as an inevitable part of your social interactions. – 1 study found that an overwhelming majority (85%) of employees at all levels experience conflict to some degree. • Conflict happens. How you respond to and resolve conflict will limit or enable your success. • By embracing conflict as a part of life, you can make the most of each situation and use it as a learning opportunity or a leadership opportunity. You can also use it as an opportunity to transform the situation into something better.
  7. 7. Five Conflict Management Styles The five conflict management styles according to Thomas, K.W., and R.H. Kilmann: 1. Accommodating 2. Avoiding 3. Collaborating 4. Competing 5. Compromising
  8. 8. Accommodating This is when you cooperate to a high-degree, and it may be at your own expense, and actually work against your own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. This approach is effective when the other party is the expert or has a better solution. It can also be effective for preserving future relations with the other party.
  9. 9. Avoiding • This is when you simply avoid the issue. You aren’t helping the other party reach their goals, and you aren’t assertively pursuing your own. This works when the issue is trivial or when you have no chance of winning. It can also be effective when the issue would be very costly. It’s also very effective when the atmosphere is emotionally charged and you need to create some space. Sometimes issues will resolve themselves, but ―hope is not a strategy‖, and, in general, avoiding is not a good long term strategy.
  10. 10. Collaborating • This is where you partner or pair up with the other party to achieve both of your goals. This is how you break free of the ―win-lose‖ paradigm and seek the ―win- win.‖ This can be effective for complex scenarios where you need to find a novel solution. This can also mean re-framing the challenge to create a bigger space and room for everybody’s ideas. The downside is that it requires a high-degree of trust and reaching a consensus can require a lot of time and effort to get everybody on board and to synthesize all the ideas.
  11. 11. Competing • This is the ―win-lose‖ approach. You act in a very assertive way to achieve your goals, without seeking to cooperate with the other party, and it may be at the expense of the other party. This approach may be appropriate for emergencies when time is of the essence, or when you need quick, decisive action, and people are aware of and support the approach.
  12. 12. Compromising • This is the ―lose-lose‖ scenario where neither party really achieves what they want. This requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation. It may be appropriate for scenarios where you need a temporary solution, or where both sides have equally important goals. The trap is to fall into compromising as an easy way out, when collaborating would produce a better solution.
  13. 13. Questionnaire: When I differ with someone: Usually=5 Sometimes=3 Seldom=1 1. I explore our differences, not backing down, but not imposing my view either. 2. I disagree openly, then invite more discussion about our differences. 3. I look for a mutually satisfactory solution. 4. Rather than let the other person make a decision without my input, I make sure I am heard and also that I hear the other person out. 5. I agree to a middle ground rather than look for a completely satisfying solution. 6. I admit I am half wrong rather than explore our differences. 7. I have a reputation for meeting a person halfway. 8. I expect to get out about half of what I really want to say. 9. I give in totally rather than try to change another’s opinion. 10.I put aside any controversial aspects of an issue. 11.I agree early on, rather than argue about a point. 12.I give in as soon as the other party gets emotional about an issue. 13.I try to win the other person over. 14.I work to come out victorious, no matter what. 15.I never back away from a good argument. 16.I would rather win than end up compromising.
  14. 14. Resolving Conflicts • Conflict can lead to positive outcomes, such as a better understanding of others, improved solutions to problems or challenges. • Conflict has a bounty of positive potential, which if harnessed correctly, can stimulate progress in ways harmony often cannot. • Everyone is capable of assertiveness and cooperativeness to effectively manage conflicts.
  15. 15. Truth Between Two People in Conflict • At times, when two people can't achieve a workable resolution to their conflict (whether in their personal or professional lives), it is useful to frame the dialogue as resolving different versions of the TRUTH: What really happened, did anything happen at all, and what is the real truth between the different stories and versions of reality?
  16. 16. MAINTAINING your entire version of the truth over the other person's claimed story (ordinarily called competing); CONCEDING (accepting) the other person's full account of what happened, dismissing your own account, and then developing a resolution based totally on the other person's story of truth (ordinarily called accommodating); COMBINING some portion of your version of what happened with a portion of the other person's story as the basis of resolving the conflict (compromising); SYNERGIZING the two different versions of truth into an altogether new (transformed) story of what happened between the two people (collaborating); ISOLATING the other person, which then prevents the resolution of truth and hence the resolution of the conflict from ever taking place (the dark side of avoiding).
  17. 17. • As some have said: "There are three truths: My truth, your truth, and what really happened." But if we think of the possibilities for synergy (collaboration) of two people's versions of reality, maybe it would make it easier to realize that some truths are socially constructed we might as well negotiate it into something useful and healing. • This perspective of managing conflict thus takes the stance that TRUTH (what happened and why) is often at the heart of the disagreement and not until SOME version of truth is accepted by both persons will it be possible to move forward and develop a workable solution (including apologies, forgiveness, and acceptance of what transpired, as might be necessary).
  18. 18. Self-worth … the Conflict within • Am I a good or bad person? • Am I valuable? • Am I loveable? • Do I deserve to be happy? And, most importantly… • Who chooses the answers to these profound questions, you or other people?
  19. 19. • Whose criteria are used to judge your self-worth: yours or others? • Who’s the ultimate judge of your self-worth: you or others?
  20. 20. Judge = Self worth = Self-esteem • We can resolve the conflict (as we often do), by using other people’s criteria (of what it means to be a good or bad person, etc.) and then allow them to judge us accordingly. • We can also resolve the conflict by ignoring our surrounding society and rely solely on our own criteria and be our own judge exclusively. • Remember, our feelings about ourselves are sometimes determined by cultural norms and other people’s expectations. • The underlying— unresolved—conflict is usually who has decided, according to whose criteria, whether a person deserves to feel good about himself in the first place?
  21. 21. References • Thomas J. Von Der Embse (1987) Supervision: Managerial Skills for a New Era. New York: Macmillan. • ving-truth-between-two-people-conflict • ent-conflict-regarding-who-determines-your-self-worth • Style.html