Assess Your Conflict Resolution Skills

Reviewed May 4, 2016

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Summary

  • Learn to respond to conflict in a way that protects all parties.
  • Privately and calmly state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts.

It’s 11 a.m. Thursday. Jenny, your co-worker, tells you that a personal crisis requires her immediate attention and she has to leave the office for about an hour or so.

You have worked together for about 4 months and like Jenny very much. And, you recall that she recently covered for you when you had to take care of a minor crisis at home. But this is a particularly busy day. You are far behind and working like mad to make a 3 p.m. deadline. Jenny seems desperate so you agree, thinking,  “I’ll work through lunch and get caught up.”

Shortly after Jenny leaves, the phone starts ringing off the hook and you are slammed with a few new tasks on top of the project you’re tying to finish.

At 1:30 p.m. Jenny shows up with an exasperated tone in her voice and explains that this or that happened, and, “you are such a dear” for helping. “I owe you a big one,” she says, as she bustles back to her desk. “No big deal” you say, and chalk this stressful day up to helping someone out of a jam.

At 6:30 p.m., while on your way to the parking lot, a friend tells you of the wonderful new restaurant he lunched at today. He comments that he saw Jenny there and wondered why you were not there lunching with the others from your department. Your jaw drops in disbelief. “How could she do this to me” you repeat to yourself as you drive home.

When you see Jenny the next morning you will most likely:

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong.
b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind.
c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on.
d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are.
e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk.
f) Report her to the department manager.

Results

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong. This is always tempting because it is a way to punish the person with guilt without ever being straightforward. This tactic quickly brings the conflict into the covert arena where the participants form alliances against each other. It also keeps the conflict going without resolution.

b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind. Venting your feelings provides immediate although temporary relief for you, but does little to resolve the conflict. It’s best to calm down, review the facts and respond from your head not with your emotions. When you think about it, we almost always say things we regret in the heat of the moment.

c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on. This helps you avoid the confrontation, but the conflict remains unresolved. It also enables the other person to continue acting irresponsibly.

d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are. The ambush at dawn. This strategy generally is a one-sided affair. You see her, show her how upset you are and let her know how irresponsibly she acted. This approach is guaranteed to bring out the entire arsenal of the other person’s defenses. No one likes being confronted in public, especially at the workplace. This usually brings others into the conflict as well. It also decreases the chances for healing and restoring a business and personal relationship.

e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk. This is the choice that protects all parties, including those at the workplace. Here you can state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts. It shows respect for her and for the workplace.

f) Report her to the department manager. This will eliminate the possibility of you handling this between the 2 of you. And, most managers hate dealing with these kinds of issues. It also leaves you vulnerable to criticism from your manager for agreeing to “cover” for someone.

It's easy to become emotional when faced with a conflict. But handling the situation with respect and privacy (option e) is in the best interest of your relationship. 

By Drew W. Edwards, MS

Summary

  • Learn to respond to conflict in a way that protects all parties.
  • Privately and calmly state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts.

It’s 11 a.m. Thursday. Jenny, your co-worker, tells you that a personal crisis requires her immediate attention and she has to leave the office for about an hour or so.

You have worked together for about 4 months and like Jenny very much. And, you recall that she recently covered for you when you had to take care of a minor crisis at home. But this is a particularly busy day. You are far behind and working like mad to make a 3 p.m. deadline. Jenny seems desperate so you agree, thinking,  “I’ll work through lunch and get caught up.”

Shortly after Jenny leaves, the phone starts ringing off the hook and you are slammed with a few new tasks on top of the project you’re tying to finish.

At 1:30 p.m. Jenny shows up with an exasperated tone in her voice and explains that this or that happened, and, “you are such a dear” for helping. “I owe you a big one,” she says, as she bustles back to her desk. “No big deal” you say, and chalk this stressful day up to helping someone out of a jam.

At 6:30 p.m., while on your way to the parking lot, a friend tells you of the wonderful new restaurant he lunched at today. He comments that he saw Jenny there and wondered why you were not there lunching with the others from your department. Your jaw drops in disbelief. “How could she do this to me” you repeat to yourself as you drive home.

When you see Jenny the next morning you will most likely:

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong.
b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind.
c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on.
d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are.
e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk.
f) Report her to the department manager.

Results

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong. This is always tempting because it is a way to punish the person with guilt without ever being straightforward. This tactic quickly brings the conflict into the covert arena where the participants form alliances against each other. It also keeps the conflict going without resolution.

b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind. Venting your feelings provides immediate although temporary relief for you, but does little to resolve the conflict. It’s best to calm down, review the facts and respond from your head not with your emotions. When you think about it, we almost always say things we regret in the heat of the moment.

c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on. This helps you avoid the confrontation, but the conflict remains unresolved. It also enables the other person to continue acting irresponsibly.

d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are. The ambush at dawn. This strategy generally is a one-sided affair. You see her, show her how upset you are and let her know how irresponsibly she acted. This approach is guaranteed to bring out the entire arsenal of the other person’s defenses. No one likes being confronted in public, especially at the workplace. This usually brings others into the conflict as well. It also decreases the chances for healing and restoring a business and personal relationship.

e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk. This is the choice that protects all parties, including those at the workplace. Here you can state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts. It shows respect for her and for the workplace.

f) Report her to the department manager. This will eliminate the possibility of you handling this between the 2 of you. And, most managers hate dealing with these kinds of issues. It also leaves you vulnerable to criticism from your manager for agreeing to “cover” for someone.

It's easy to become emotional when faced with a conflict. But handling the situation with respect and privacy (option e) is in the best interest of your relationship. 

By Drew W. Edwards, MS

Summary

  • Learn to respond to conflict in a way that protects all parties.
  • Privately and calmly state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts.

It’s 11 a.m. Thursday. Jenny, your co-worker, tells you that a personal crisis requires her immediate attention and she has to leave the office for about an hour or so.

You have worked together for about 4 months and like Jenny very much. And, you recall that she recently covered for you when you had to take care of a minor crisis at home. But this is a particularly busy day. You are far behind and working like mad to make a 3 p.m. deadline. Jenny seems desperate so you agree, thinking,  “I’ll work through lunch and get caught up.”

Shortly after Jenny leaves, the phone starts ringing off the hook and you are slammed with a few new tasks on top of the project you’re tying to finish.

At 1:30 p.m. Jenny shows up with an exasperated tone in her voice and explains that this or that happened, and, “you are such a dear” for helping. “I owe you a big one,” she says, as she bustles back to her desk. “No big deal” you say, and chalk this stressful day up to helping someone out of a jam.

At 6:30 p.m., while on your way to the parking lot, a friend tells you of the wonderful new restaurant he lunched at today. He comments that he saw Jenny there and wondered why you were not there lunching with the others from your department. Your jaw drops in disbelief. “How could she do this to me” you repeat to yourself as you drive home.

When you see Jenny the next morning you will most likely:

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong.
b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind.
c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on.
d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are.
e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk.
f) Report her to the department manager.

Results

a) Look angry and indifferent until she asks you what’s wrong. This is always tempting because it is a way to punish the person with guilt without ever being straightforward. This tactic quickly brings the conflict into the covert arena where the participants form alliances against each other. It also keeps the conflict going without resolution.

b) Call her that night and give her a piece of your mind. Venting your feelings provides immediate although temporary relief for you, but does little to resolve the conflict. It’s best to calm down, review the facts and respond from your head not with your emotions. When you think about it, we almost always say things we regret in the heat of the moment.

c) Chalk it up to experience, ignore the incident and move on. This helps you avoid the confrontation, but the conflict remains unresolved. It also enables the other person to continue acting irresponsibly.

d) Confront her as soon as you see her and let her know how angry you are. The ambush at dawn. This strategy generally is a one-sided affair. You see her, show her how upset you are and let her know how irresponsibly she acted. This approach is guaranteed to bring out the entire arsenal of the other person’s defenses. No one likes being confronted in public, especially at the workplace. This usually brings others into the conflict as well. It also decreases the chances for healing and restoring a business and personal relationship.

e) Arrange to meet with her privately when you have some time to talk. This is the choice that protects all parties, including those at the workplace. Here you can state your concern while making room for the possibility that you don’t have all the facts. It shows respect for her and for the workplace.

f) Report her to the department manager. This will eliminate the possibility of you handling this between the 2 of you. And, most managers hate dealing with these kinds of issues. It also leaves you vulnerable to criticism from your manager for agreeing to “cover” for someone.

It's easy to become emotional when faced with a conflict. But handling the situation with respect and privacy (option e) is in the best interest of your relationship. 

By Drew W. Edwards, MS

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes 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 consider contacting your human resources department. ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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