Essay about Personal Conflict

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According to Hocker & Wilmot conflict is an “expressed struggle” between at least two “interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals” (13). In what way or manner individuals react to and/ or handle conflict decides if conflict will limit success or bring about a better understanding of each other. In most conflict situations, people have a conflict with people they know, and there are many alternatives to solving conflict situations (Hocker & Wilmot 23). This paper will examine and determine my personal conflict style professionally and personally. Then, I will interview my husband to get his perspective on my conflict style. Ultimately, I will discuss the positive and negative features of my conflict style, and how I utilized all the course activities and resources to make positive changes in my life and the life of those around me on a personal and professional level.

The personal conflict style I most identify with and utilize periodically in my day-to-day routine in my Behavioral Health is collaboration. According to Hocker & Wilmot, “trust enhances collaboration or the ability to work together for commonly identified goals” (15). The primary advantage of collaborating conflict management is that it makes all parties involved in the dispute feel valued and understood. When you critically listen to the concerns people in conflict have with each other, you diffuse the hostility by allowing free expression (Hocker & Wilmot 109). I have learned that conflicts exist because individuals involved do not hear the other person, and that creates misconceptions. It is important that the parties involved in conflict communicate their concerns, it will foster understanding, empathy, and mutual respect (Hocker & Wilmot 117).

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My conflict style is not interested in power and supremacy, as opposed to competition. For example, when my husband and I along with my three children thoroughly clean our home every Saturday morning. We collaborate on the chores, contrary to just me doing everything myself. Once upon a time, not too long ago, before I learned the primary means necessary to evolve into an effective leader is understanding the tenacity and fallibility of self. In addition to defining my strengths, I understood that I had the capacity to learn when and how to implement those skills in any conflict. By pinpointing my weaknesses, I improved my leadership style by working on those weaknesses, and by replacing those bad qualities with positive leadership attributes. I feel that the five leadership assessments that I have recently completed have provided me with a tremendous opportunity to self-assess my leadership style by utilizing a variety of leadership assessment methodologies.

Although, there are some advantages/disadvantages to having a collaborating style. For instance, conflicts are resolved in a manner that brings about the best result for all parties involved. Both sides get what they want, and adverse feelings are lessened, and it creates mutual trust; maintains positive relationships; builds commitments. The disadvantages are it is time-consuming; energy consuming (Hocker & Wilmot 209).

My husband perceived my conflict style as accommodating, compromising, avoiding, and collaborating. He believed as I did initially. I too understand it heavily depends on the person and the conflict. He became undecided but eventually settled on compromising. As noted, on my Conflict Skills Inventory my family all agreed that my strengths can also be my weakness at times. However, everyone agreed that I am a rational person and I genuinely seek to avoid conflict. Although, I am not a hot-headed person when I am pushed my strengths become my weakness. If that makes sense. This conflict style is not shocking to me because I discussed it in Week 2 as being my conflict style. I believe my husband's opinion has drastically changed since the start of this class, which is great. My mom viewed my conflict style as accommodating. She believes that I go out of my way for people. The accommodating style is one of sacrifice, selflessness, and low assertiveness. I am willing to give up everything in order to preserve the relationship with the other party (Hocker & Wilmot 103). By accommodating, I am reserving my personal needs, which is how my mom perceives my conflict style.

To summarize, my husband's and my mom’s evaluation of my conflict style encourages me to evolve into an effective leader by understanding the tenacity and fallibility of self. In addition to defining my strengths, I have the capacity to learn when and how to implement those skills in any conflict. By pinpointing my weaknesses, I can strive to improve my leadership style by working on those weaknesses, and by replacing those bad qualities with positive leadership attributes. I feel that the five leadership assessments that I have recently completed have provided me with a tremendous opportunity to self-assess my leadership style by utilizing a variety of leadership assessment methodologies.

Conflicts face the basic choice of avoiding or engaging. I believe that if I can change and adapt then I will be more effective at resolving conflicts. The concept that people can change their communication style based on the demands of different situations appears to be true. I am learning to be a direct interpersonal communicator and I expect change and adapt to change in my communication with others. This way I will avoid getting “stuck” in certain conflict styles. I have learned that conflict is evitable and natural. How I decide to handle conflict is detrimental to my health. Whether in my personal or professional relationships it will increase the value in my work environment/marriage or decrease it.

Learning to deal with conflict in positive ways instills good communication as well as permits a foundation for a healthy work environment and a healthy relationship. I understand not to attack the person even when I mean well, I can sometimes come across as harsh because of my choice of words. I have learned the importance of being honest. Being honest even if the truth hurts, it’s the key to a healthy relationship. I will learn to admit when I am wrong because I am not perfect and to apologize when I make a mistake instead of making excuses. This approach will make me feel better and it will help strengthen my relationships both personal and professional.

I believe this style was learned from being a child. I do not recall many conflicts among my parents as a teenager. My parents did not yell and scream at one another. They both displayed a sense of calmness and understanding and respect for one another. I view their behavior contributed to my conflict style. I also remember my dad communicating that he needed to take a walk if he felt overwhelmed by the situation. For instance, the fourth horseman is stonewalling, which is usually a response to contempt. Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shuts down, and simply stops responding to their partner (Hocker & Wilmot 239). I will only take this approach if my emotions are intact. Which they usually are. I will eventually express to my husband my feelings whatever they are if I’m feeling angry, I express that we can talk later once we both have calmed down. It’ll be easier to work through this after I’ve calmed down.” I believe this is the appropriate approach because I fear I may say something I would regret later. I like to face conflict head-to-head but in a healthier manner so stonewalling appears to be best. However, it is not often. Yet, if I feel that stonewalling is the best approach during a conflict, I will stop the discussion and ask my husband to take a walk or a break to clear our thoughts.

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Questionnaire highest score indicated my most used strategy. The lowest score indicated my least preferred strategy. According to the results: Competing, I scored low which is true, and I expected to score low. I also scored low on collaborating and accommodating which tied. Not a shock at all. In compromising I scored a 7 and in Avoiding I scored an 11. My husband's opinion of my conflict style was dead on.

The presence of conflict does not determine the quality of any relationship; rather, how you handle conflict situations determines the quality of the relationship. Professionally, I need to study conflict so I can be of help to others experiencing interpersonal conflict. To be of most help I will need specific intervention skills which is a prerequisite for being an effective helper to others, such as my children, friends, family, and associates. As an employee, I would like to learn how to get along better with fellow employees, my manager, and the general public as a leader, I would like to recognize conflicts before they start, and respond correctly in order to implement productive responses. While helping employees resolve their disputes and to prevent interpersonal conflicts from spreading to other parts of the organization. Conflict management is important in my personal relationship because it will be beneficial to my life as well as my family members by helping me better manage it with a healthier approach. The better I am at handling conflict management will directly affect my family and my peers positively.

Since the skills approach utilizes tools to measure technical, human, and conceptual skills (Hilmot & Wilmot 303). I feel that this kind of leadership assessment technique is an adequate comprehensive measure of identifying leadership skills that one possesses. When I answered the questionnaire on skills approach, I scored high on all technical, human, and conceptual skills. The scores that I received imply that my leadership skills are strong in all three areas of the skills approach that were mentioned above. I tend to be technical at work in terms of making every effort to understand the task at hand, following directions, and completing things well within the deadline. At the same time, I tend to utilize adequate human skills in keeping an open and clear communication style with my colleagues. I also tend to see the big picture in performing any given assignment and feel intrigued by complex organizational issues, which indicates that I use strong conceptual skills at work. Completing the skills-approach assessment has provided me with an insight into all the skills and traits that I am already performing successfully. I agree with Northouse as he has described the skills approach as an assessment tool that addresses more than just leadership in terms of its focus on motivation, critical thinking, personality, and conflict resolution (233).

Works Cited

  1. Hocker, L., J, & Wilmot, W., W. (2017). Interpersonal conflict (10th ed). New York: McGraw Hill.
  2. Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage Publishing.
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