Conflict occurs when two or more people believe that what each wants is incompatible with what the other wants.
Conflict is likely to increase in times of change. It is an important human process which can often lead to constructive and creative results.
Conflict makes it necessary to search for new approaches. Better ideas are often produced through conflict situations.
Conflict can be managed to maximize creative outcomes and minimize destructive ones.
How to manage conflict?
The key is effective communication. This requires special attention to your manner of talking and listening.
- Talking- Describe your wishes, needs and feelings from your perspective without reflecting on the other person, without overt or implied criticism of him or her, and without expectations that the other person is obligated to respond or act in any particular way. Do not speak for the other person, only for yourself. Make “I” statements.
- Listening – Pay careful attention to what the other person is saying, while seeking to understand his or her viewpoint, without feeling that his or her remarks reflect on you personally, or allowing yourself to feel defensive.
- Acknowledge what you heard the other person say.
- Look for areas of agreement. Point them out. If there is no area of agreement, show respect for the other person’s viewpoint.
- Where you disagree with the other person’s position, feel free to express your own position. Explain why you disagree, and specify what you wish to happen in order to meet your own needs and wishes.
- At all times, listen to the other person’s responses. Acknowledge any area in which you feel that final agreement has been reached.
- If no agreement has been reached on an issue, feel free to brainstorm alternatives. Select the best alternative or offer a compromise.
- Finally, imagine consequences that may happen if the problem is not resolved.