A Better Way of Dealing With Conflict

Posted May 11, 2021

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Conflict happens when two people disagree about something. Despite the fact that people have many similarities, everyone is different from everybody else, and people will have conflicts. Conflict is a natural part of life and happens often.

Conflict can be positive and healthy, as well as a learning and growing experience. When people deal with it in a healthy way, they can generally find a solution that satisfies everyone. This is what is called managing conflict.

Unfortunately, conflict also has its negative side, where people not only disagree with each other, but sometimes also hurt feelings and fracture relationships.

How to deal with conflict

There are three primary strategies used to deal with conflict:

Flight: Avoiding conflict and hoping that it will go away (avoidance)
Fight: Using authority, rights or force to attempt to prevail over others (position-based competition)
Unite: Talking with other people to develop solutions that will satisfy mutual interests, and come to some result with which they all can live (interest-based problem solving)

There are options for finding a better way to manage disagreements. People can work together on conflict management to increase the understanding and practice of interest-based problem solving.

Interest-based problem solving

What interest-based problem solving (IBPS) means is that there are times when it makes sense for people who have a problem to sit down together to see if they can solve it by talking about their mutual concerns.

People who are in conflict with each other often have common interests. In the workplace, for example, common interests include the overall success of the organization, communication, teamwork, professional competence for everyone, quality, productivity, ethical treatment and recognition of diversity.

IBPS has some significant advantages:

  • The parties will be more likely to feel that the decision-making process has been a fair one.
  • The parties will tend to be more committed to carrying out the agreements made.
  • They are likely to have a greater understanding of, and respect for, each other.
  • If future conflicts arise, they will have an example to follow, making it easier for the parties to address the conflict and deal with it constructively.
  • IBPS often costs less in the long run than power- or rights-based strains. IBPS produces results and consistently maintains relationships between the parties. It may even improve the relationship.

That is not to say that all conflicts should be handled the same way. Some differences just are not that big a deal. Others may be caused inadvertently, and there is just not much that can be done about them. There will always be a legitimate need for avoidance and competition as solutions to conflict situations.

On the other hand, some disputes are big, important and tough enough that it makes sense to address them directly. It is important to realise in such situations that you have not two, but three choices in how to do this: avoidance, competition and analyzing interests.

Experience shows that people will be more successful in accomplishing their missions using various conflict management techniques. By improving how people deal with conflict, people can change the culture of their organization (or other setting) to remove some of the barriers in reaching their objectives.

If you treat people well and fairly, most of the time they will respond the same way. Also, if you treat each other honestly and fairly, you will create a friendlier working environment. Ordinarily, that can increase quality-driven productivity.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov

Conflict happens when two people disagree about something. Despite the fact that people have many similarities, everyone is different from everybody else, and people will have conflicts. Conflict is a natural part of life and happens often.

Conflict can be positive and healthy, as well as a learning and growing experience. When people deal with it in a healthy way, they can generally find a solution that satisfies everyone. This is what is called managing conflict.

Unfortunately, conflict also has its negative side, where people not only disagree with each other, but sometimes also hurt feelings and fracture relationships.

How to deal with conflict

There are three primary strategies used to deal with conflict:

Flight: Avoiding conflict and hoping that it will go away (avoidance)
Fight: Using authority, rights or force to attempt to prevail over others (position-based competition)
Unite: Talking with other people to develop solutions that will satisfy mutual interests, and come to some result with which they all can live (interest-based problem solving)

There are options for finding a better way to manage disagreements. People can work together on conflict management to increase the understanding and practice of interest-based problem solving.

Interest-based problem solving

What interest-based problem solving (IBPS) means is that there are times when it makes sense for people who have a problem to sit down together to see if they can solve it by talking about their mutual concerns.

People who are in conflict with each other often have common interests. In the workplace, for example, common interests include the overall success of the organization, communication, teamwork, professional competence for everyone, quality, productivity, ethical treatment and recognition of diversity.

IBPS has some significant advantages:

  • The parties will be more likely to feel that the decision-making process has been a fair one.
  • The parties will tend to be more committed to carrying out the agreements made.
  • They are likely to have a greater understanding of, and respect for, each other.
  • If future conflicts arise, they will have an example to follow, making it easier for the parties to address the conflict and deal with it constructively.
  • IBPS often costs less in the long run than power- or rights-based strains. IBPS produces results and consistently maintains relationships between the parties. It may even improve the relationship.

That is not to say that all conflicts should be handled the same way. Some differences just are not that big a deal. Others may be caused inadvertently, and there is just not much that can be done about them. There will always be a legitimate need for avoidance and competition as solutions to conflict situations.

On the other hand, some disputes are big, important and tough enough that it makes sense to address them directly. It is important to realise in such situations that you have not two, but three choices in how to do this: avoidance, competition and analyzing interests.

Experience shows that people will be more successful in accomplishing their missions using various conflict management techniques. By improving how people deal with conflict, people can change the culture of their organization (or other setting) to remove some of the barriers in reaching their objectives.

If you treat people well and fairly, most of the time they will respond the same way. Also, if you treat each other honestly and fairly, you will create a friendlier working environment. Ordinarily, that can increase quality-driven productivity.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov

Conflict happens when two people disagree about something. Despite the fact that people have many similarities, everyone is different from everybody else, and people will have conflicts. Conflict is a natural part of life and happens often.

Conflict can be positive and healthy, as well as a learning and growing experience. When people deal with it in a healthy way, they can generally find a solution that satisfies everyone. This is what is called managing conflict.

Unfortunately, conflict also has its negative side, where people not only disagree with each other, but sometimes also hurt feelings and fracture relationships.

How to deal with conflict

There are three primary strategies used to deal with conflict:

Flight: Avoiding conflict and hoping that it will go away (avoidance)
Fight: Using authority, rights or force to attempt to prevail over others (position-based competition)
Unite: Talking with other people to develop solutions that will satisfy mutual interests, and come to some result with which they all can live (interest-based problem solving)

There are options for finding a better way to manage disagreements. People can work together on conflict management to increase the understanding and practice of interest-based problem solving.

Interest-based problem solving

What interest-based problem solving (IBPS) means is that there are times when it makes sense for people who have a problem to sit down together to see if they can solve it by talking about their mutual concerns.

People who are in conflict with each other often have common interests. In the workplace, for example, common interests include the overall success of the organization, communication, teamwork, professional competence for everyone, quality, productivity, ethical treatment and recognition of diversity.

IBPS has some significant advantages:

  • The parties will be more likely to feel that the decision-making process has been a fair one.
  • The parties will tend to be more committed to carrying out the agreements made.
  • They are likely to have a greater understanding of, and respect for, each other.
  • If future conflicts arise, they will have an example to follow, making it easier for the parties to address the conflict and deal with it constructively.
  • IBPS often costs less in the long run than power- or rights-based strains. IBPS produces results and consistently maintains relationships between the parties. It may even improve the relationship.

That is not to say that all conflicts should be handled the same way. Some differences just are not that big a deal. Others may be caused inadvertently, and there is just not much that can be done about them. There will always be a legitimate need for avoidance and competition as solutions to conflict situations.

On the other hand, some disputes are big, important and tough enough that it makes sense to address them directly. It is important to realise in such situations that you have not two, but three choices in how to do this: avoidance, competition and analyzing interests.

Experience shows that people will be more successful in accomplishing their missions using various conflict management techniques. By improving how people deal with conflict, people can change the culture of their organization (or other setting) to remove some of the barriers in reaching their objectives.

If you treat people well and fairly, most of the time they will respond the same way. Also, if you treat each other honestly and fairly, you will create a friendlier working environment. Ordinarily, that can increase quality-driven productivity.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please contact your human resources department. ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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