Conflict is not an unnatural phenomenon among human beings of any background. It is very normal for us to sometimes have oppositions and struggles when relating with each other. As long as people interact as the social beings we are, conflicts will occur on occasion. Knowing that there is no way to avoid running into conflict with people, it is important to be informed on ways to manage them when they occur. It is also important to know how to handle conflict because it can reflect our relationships with others and our frame of mind at times.
Because of the uniqueness of every human interaction, each conflict is different and not all of them can be handled the same way. Conflicts that occur in a classroom setting, work place and even between friends cannot be handled the same way. Managing conflicts takes a level of thought and finesse. The only people we truly and completely understand are ourselves. We can only understand other people to a certain degree through personal feelings and social perception. So that is why it is important always make an effort to get to know people so we can understand things from their vantage point.
Dealing with conflict often times requires some form of confrontation which maybe calm yet difficult to have. There are different strategies one may adopt, which then depends on the scenario in which conflict occurs. Some of these strategies take a more confrontational approach such as assertiveness and compromise. Some strategies require a third party’s involvement. This is often known as arbitration.
When managing conflict, it is important to avoid being aggressive in order to not come off as disrespectful and mean-spirited. People often confuse being assertive as being aggressive. Assertiveness involves expressing your position, needs and feelings in a respectful yet direct manner. Using authoritative command is when. For instance, at a firm, Joy is the head of the accounts department and has been ordered to submit a detailed summary of the firms spending that month which is to be submitted before the end of the week. Her She tells a subordinate, Julie to collate figures for the report and submit before next morning. On one account, Joy sees Julie goofing off and not doing the needful. She then politely asks her to get to work. Julie takes her tone for granted and continues ignoring her work.
This sort of behaviour would typically anger anyone and cause a dispute but it is important to keep cool and try to be respectful regardless. If Joy simply confronts her in an assertive manner, expressing how it is important she gets the work done and remind her of the consequences of not finishing her work in due time. This a better bet than, attacking her or being excessively authoritative and demanding.
Another confrontational approach when managing conflict is compromise. Compromise entails negotiation which ends in an agreement or settlement of disputes were the parties involved end up making concessions. In a scenario concerning a married couple, Jess and Jamie where they both have plans for a night out and conflicting interests, a compromise must be reached. Jamie has a business dinner at his potential future employers house. He knows how important it is for his boss to see him as family man so he invites his wife, Jess. Jess expresses that she can not the dinner because she too has a meeting with her boss concerning a promotion. They get into a little squabble and Jess accuses Jamie of being selfish for wanting her to miss her meeting. He then understands how important this meeting is to her and decides to make a compromise by placing his dinner at a later time so his wife can go for her meeting and make it in time for the dinner. By doing so, both parties do not lose anything. It is important to be willing reach a compromise in any relationship. There are always alternative ways solving situations.
Sometimes, conflicts are best handled by an unbiased third party. In a lot of disputes it is always healthy to hear from a third party whose judgement is not clouded. Take for instance, Jade’s desk is right next to John’s at work. He brings his dog to the office everyday and it sometimes pees under Jade’s desk. On several accounts, she told him how frustrating it is to smell pee while she works. He always says that his dog is being trained and apologises. One day, Jade gets frustrated and reports the matter to the Head of Human Resources, Jonah. Jonah then sends out a memo about how to conduct Dog Conduct in the Office along with a formal complaint. Because of this, John decides to not bring his dog to the office till it is properly trained. In situations where one party, or both, don’t feel heard and aren’t willing to listen to each other, a third party is most helpful.
Today, there is a whole segment of entertainment that glorifies and profits off conflict between people ( Reality Television and Entertainment News), but we must note that we can’t live our lives constantly getting in a fight every time we get frustrated. That it is important to learn tactics for conflict management.