Saturday, April 28, 2007
Dealing with conflict
Three myths about conflict
- Conflict can never lead to anything positive
- Conflicts are a result of clashing personalities. Personalities don’t clash, behavior does
- Conflict and anger go together
Four levels of conflict
Generaly speaking there are four causes (or levels) of conflict:
Level 1 – Facts or data. People have the wrong information about stuff
Level 2 – Process or methods. There is a disagreement about how something should be done.
Level 3 – Goals or purpose. When people don’t agree with vision
Level 4 – Values. Where the parties disagree about basic values, ie, one party thinks we should look to the past, others look to the future.
Styles of handling
When dealing with conflict, most of us will fit into one of these roles:
- The problem solver. These people refuse to give in…finding a solution is just a mater of time. This approach tends to work where the parties have common goals
- The super helper. This person wants to see all conflicts resolved. They will fight tooth and nail for someone else but often find it hard to sort out their own issues
- The power broker. We will solve this problem and it does not matter how many casualties there are. All that matters is that we resolve the problem.
- The facilitator. They look for ways of bringing people together
- The fearful looser. These people tend to run from conflict.
- Separate the people from the problem
- Focus on the issues not the positions
- Think about the options that might solve the problem(s). Is there space for compromise?
Insist on objective criteria….on what basis will we agree to disagree? A third party judge?
- Try make it a shared problem, not a conflict problem
- Don’t be personal – behave like adults
- Keep your body language in check
- Try to clarify goals. What outcome is needed and where goal fits?
- Listen carefully ‘underneath the words’ and reflect back, ie, don't just listen to what they are saying....what do their words imply?
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