Summary: Conflict doesn’t have to be something we dread and avoid at all costs. There is a healthier and more productive method to work through conflicts.
The most common ways to handle conflict are with either management or resolutions styles. Conflict management is when we assume conflict is always present but can be kept under control with boundaries. Conflict resolution views conflict as an interruption of normal life and a solution or compromise can be quickly made to move on. Both ways of dealing with conflict can leave one party or both unhappy and unsatisfied.
Conflict transformation is another way of addressing conflict. This way views conflict as an opportunity to strengthen the common interests of the group instead of viewing it as a problem that has to be managed or resolved. There are six main steps to take when adjusting from the common resolution and management styles to the conflict transformation method.
- Change your way of thinking and see conflict as an opportunity. When we stop dreading conflict, we can see the valuable lesson that can be gained from it.
- Set pride aside and respect everyone involved. It can be hard to not hold grudges or to assume that your way is the only correct way. Having this kind of attitude will make any conflict solution method fail.
- Identify what real issues causing the problems. When married couples fight about money, it isn’t actually the reason for the fight. Control is the true issue. Once you can figure out what the real problem is, you are closer to being able to get past the conflict.
- Create a future with both parties included. If your solution to the conflict doesn’t involve the other person or group being a part of it, then the conflict can’t be fixed.
- Know when to walk away. While negotiating for a solution to the conflict but the other party involved is not willing to work with you, walk away. You can’t force the other party to cooperate and will just end up getting nowhere.
- Be prepared to address conflict again. Once you transform one conflict, others are bound to pop up. Use what you learned from solving this conflict for future ones.
Conflicts are inevitable. Fall-outs from conflict aren’t. There are ways to open up our way of thinking to adjust and work better with others. With respect and understanding, we can learn to work with anyone, no matter the differences.
Photo: johnmurphyinternational.comUse the Conflict Transformation Method by Amanda Griffin