Conflict is natural because of disagreement. Whether the conflict is minor, verbal, or becomes violent, depends on the situation, time and place. Individually and socially, conflict occurs everyday at different levels. Whether at work and a disagreement occurs, or at home and an argument ensures, conflict is part of daily life. Just because conflict and differences exist, does not mean it has to be a bad thing or dangerous thing. While many conflicts spiral out of control into professional, personal or even social chaos, conflicts do not need to become divisive and destructive forces. Differences can be discussed, mended and aligned to incorporate benefits for everyone.
However, certain differences can only be mended so far. Certain differences cannot always make every side happy and certain differences will leave some with some resentment. It is how one intellectually and emotionally handles a conflict that matters sometime the most. When wars result or family feuds ensue, then no matter the conclusion, no-one benefits. Hence it is important to to not only employ good conflict resolution skills but also manage emotions.
Emotions can turn an argument or conflict into an aggressive verbal and sometimes physical battle with only impasses. In this case, when entering into any conflict resolution meeting, or entering into argument or debate, to present oneself with a calm mind. Anger Management is key. Focusing on dislikes of other person or group, lingering on past insults or wrongs, allowing prejudices to warp the intellect and issuing insults can only escalate. The key is to de-escalate when conflict emerges during discussion. It is important to identify one’s own triggers, as well as the other individual’s triggers. Once these are identified, it is easier to avoid and also limit. Avoid being overly defensive or quick to respond if something upsets. There are good ways to respond to criticism and bad ways. It is key during conflict resolution to respond well.
Furthermore, one needs to identify tone of voice, body position and movement in regards to dealing with the individual. How one initially represents oneself can determine the outcome of a discussion. This is true when arguing with a spouse or friend, debating with another person, crafting a business deal, negotiating a bill, or even responding to an officer at a basic traffic stop. When one insults or past biases are voiced in an aggressive manner, the other person will automatically assume a more defensive position and be far less willing to listen. Name calling and insulting while dismissing the primary topic is a good way to end any resolution before it ever begins. Instead be calm and collective and be positive. Avoid negative sentences and “I” statements, but keep very close to the topic and avoid ad hominem argumentation. Compliments and acknowledgement of other another side’s view and an appreciation of one’s concerns can open a far more healthy dialogue.
Obviously a healthy a dialogue is the purpose. Each dialogue has an end goal. To reach the established end goal, involves communication and listening. When one speaks so loudly above others, one not only alienates oneself from the other side, but also is unable to hear points and counter points. When pointing out strengths and weaknesses of one’s view, there should be a clear line of respect and time for each side to fully articulate each other’s point of view. Proper listening and communication is hence a pre-requisite in any negotiation or mediation and is as important as emotional control.
Reactions to Conflict
When dealing with conflict there are a variety of ways to handle it. The article, “5 Conflict Resolution Strategies: Steps, Benefits and Tips” by Jennifer Herrity points out some key ways some may deal with conflict and its resolution. She states,
“Conflicts are struggles that can arise during an active disagreement of opinions or interests, so it’s important to understand how to navigate and resolve them. In the workplace, there are many instances in which conflict can happen between coworkers, and when it does, it is important to resolve the situation before it escalates. In this article, we discuss five conflict resolution strategies, how to use them in the workplace and the benefits of conflict resolution…Different people use different methods to resolve conflict, depending on their personalities and preferences. The five most common strategies, known as the (Kenneth) Thomas-(Ralph) Kilmann model, used to resolve conflicts in the workplace include”
“5 Conflict Resolution Strategies: Steps, Benefits and Tips”. Herrity, J. (2023). Indeed.
To review the entire article, please click here
Individuals when dealing with conflict can avoid the argument completely. This passive reaction to an argument can lead many unresolved issues and deeper resentment. Many introverts and passive individuals will flee conflict however instead of arguing or feeling bullied into an issue by a more aggressive personality. Avoidance may relieve temporary tension but it does not resolve the existing issue.
Other individuals will actively engage and compete against the other person. They will completely and totally reject the entirety of the other person’s argument and push only for one’s own ideal or solution. This leads to active hostility and disagreement and also offers no other solution. Whether in business, politics, or international war, this leads to one eventually exerting power over the other or leaving a totally dissatisfied side which will later re-emerge with similar issues.Other individuals will accommodate the other individual. This may lead to short term peace but again only presents a lingering issue. Sometimes accommodation is purposely utilized to resolve short term issues with true sights on longer term venues.
Compromising, like accommodation, also provides a short term solution but usually leads to longer term issues and revisiting to the lasting issue. Those in compromise though both walk away with a distaste but also a small gain.
Finally, collaboration is the ultimate solution when possible. In this scenario, all individuals win because they work together towards something better. Each side realizes the value of the other and combine their forces and ideas towards a greater good.
Individuals must also during any type of negotiation or conflict resolution possess some sort of character and ability to read it in others. One should be able to analyze one’s own strength and weaknesses and see where one is right or wrong. One must also understand the type of personality one is dealing with across from them. What type of temperament, personality and demeanor consists within this individual. Are they more of an exertive dominant Personality A, or a more passive Personality B? One should be prepared to know maximum and minimum extremes one will waver, as well as the other, and then make a solid logical and honest agreement. Keeping one’s word and processing a fair agreement meets with all standards of justice and integrity. When many nations or individuals break deals, conflict is always unavoidable. This is why the deal should always be just and not overtly benefiting oneself. Trouble will only emerge later. This should be seen as looking out for the future and avoiding unneeded drama in future days.
Personal interaction will always breed conflict because different people have different opinions. It is important to protect one’s own interests but to also be fair and just. This is accomplished through communication, listening and understanding the person. It involves anger management and emotional restraint in how one debates another view. It demands logic, justice and a fair view of oneself. When these qualities are missing, conflict resolution is moot and conflict itself will emerge.
Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention, Anger Management and Stress Management Programs. The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification. Those seeking to help resolve issues and conflicts can easily utilize a Crisis Intervention Certification or Anger Management Certification to their resume and utilize the skills to better apply conflict resolution both personally and professionally whether at home, work, school, politics or at the international level.
“Conflict Resolution” MTCT. Mind Tools. Access here
“How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation”. Gallo, A. (2017). Harvard Business Review. Access here
“Conflict Resolution Skills”. (2023). HelpGuide.org. Access here
“14 Conflict Resolution Strategies for the Workplace”. Wilson, C. (2022). Positive Psychology. Access here