Conflict Management

 

 

Conflict Management

 

Conflict occurs when we have differing views to someone else. Conflict is a normal part of relationships, and can be constructive if handled well. However, conflict can also be destructive when it is mishandled and escalates. When a conflict builds up, it can be easy to have strong emotions. When this happens, it is harder to think clearly and to listen to what the other person is saying. People react differently during conflicts:

  • Some take up the position of “winning the conflict at all costs”.
  • Some prefer to retreat either physically or emotionally.
  • Some try to work though the conflict calmly and with respect for others and them self.

 

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Conflict Management Information & Tips

 

How we communicate during a conflict is an important factor in whether the conflict will resolve. Please work through the three expandable boxes below by clicking on each title.

 

1. Ask yourself the following questions...

 

  • Do the people involved feel shut-out or heard?
  • Is the conflict leading to “win-lose” or compromise?
  • Is the communication destructive or respectful?
  • Am I just reacting, or listening and responding?
  • Does this communication have negative, or positive results?

 

2. Conflict management tips include...

 

  • Listen to the other person’s point of view, and see if you’ve understood correctly.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Try to talk and listen with respect – don’t use put-downs or sarcasm.
  • Be assertive by making “I” statements; “when you say that, I feel…”
  • If things are heating up, ask for time out, and take it.
  • If old patterns aren’t working, try something new – for example, simply being in a new environment (e.g., talking together in the backyard rather than inside the house) might make a difference.
  • If one type of communication isn’t working, try a new one (e.g., letters, email, phone).
  • If the conflict has escalated to a point where it is impossible to communicate, it might be helpful to bring in a third person such as a mutual friend or family member. Alternatively, you can seek the professional help of a counsellor or mediator.

 

3. Important points to remember...

 

  • Abuse in any form is never okay. We should neither abuse others, nor accept it from others.
  • The responsibility for our own communication lies with us alone. No-one “makes” us say things, we have a choice.
  • Restricting another’s options through either physical or emotional control is never OK. If this is what you are doing, or receiving, it might be time to talk to someone about it.
  • Physical violence is highly destructive and illegal, including with children. If this is a part of the conflict in your life, it’s important that you seek some help and advice.

 

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