Conflict Resolution

We all have moments of frustration whether they be associated with a friend, a family member, or a disagreement in your everyday life, but there are several positive strategies to utilize when it comes to dealing with conflict.

What qualifies as a conflict?

According to the Office of Human Resource Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conflict is understood by analyzing various behaviors and the consequences each behavior produces on individuals living the dilemma.

  • Avoidance: The person who practices avoidance wants to ignore the problem in hopes that it will simply go away. Unfortunately,  the opposite often happens. Over time, the problem festers under the surface until finally comes to a head. It's better to address the conflict head on than to let it simmer till it boils over.
  • Standing One's Ground: People who use this technique can appear controlling and aggressive when they communicate. They don't like to give in or hear other people's opinions. They're afraid their needs won't be met unless they set the rules and direct the conversation.
  • Surrendering: Often perceived as a peacemaker, the person using this tactic hates conflict. Instead of facing the conflict directly, they cave in to the wishes or demands of others. They place other people's needs and opinions above their own, because they're afraid to ruffle feathers, make someone angry, or cause trouble. Preserving the peace and maintaining relationship(s) is the number one priority.     
  • Compromise/Sacrifice: This method is a sort of concession and, while it seems to be a good route to take, it’s not the best approach. People in this category make a sequence of tradeoffs which means they are focusing on what they want as opposed to understanding the other’s viewpoint.  
  • Collaborate: People who practice collaboration care about win-win solutions. This simply means that they scout common aspirations and needs, to where every party knows their opinions and feeling are important and are going to be heard. This style needs a lot of cooperation, assertiveness and communication among the parties.

Ultimately, understanding your wants and needs as well as your behavior patterns will establish internal insight. You will have a better understanding for not just yourself, but for others around you and how situations may or may not unfold. This knowledge will give you the preliminary tools for conflict resolution.

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