A good communicator is familiar with how to deal with conflict. His objective is not to do away with conflict but to manage it in such a way that it brings about growth and constructive solutions.
We all have our own ways of dealing with conflict, our own styles of managing difficult situations. In order to minimize risks and maximize benefits, how do you manage conflict? How can you handle conflict in a way that increases your growth potential?
Ways of Handling Conflict in A Small Group
Given below are different ways we handle conflict in a small group:
The Negotiator: This person looks for consensus and in order to get it, works tirelessly. When all parities have problem-solving skills, negotiation works best. While keeping the values and goals intact, negotiators work to find methods satisfactory to both parties. For communication failure, this is the best solution.
The Competitor: For the Competitor, conflict is a game. Power lures this person’s attention. When all parties understand the power relationship among themselves and know that action is imperative, the competitive approach is best. Like the others, this is simply a temporary answer. This conflict returns, maybe in a more powerful form.
The Compromiser: The Compromiser proposes a solution, which, apparently, appears to solve conflict. However, both sides are left unsatisfied since both sacrifice something they wanted. When time is short and both parties benefit, compromise works best. Since everyone loses something, itâ€™s less than a perfect situation.
The Accommodator: The Accommodator tries to make everyone happy. This person’s goal is superficial harmony, not essentially an evenhanded resolution of the conflict. When the issues are minor or when the relationship would be irreparably damaged due to hot tempers, accommodation is preferred. Here the solution is only temporary.
The Avoider: Some people struggle for neutrality since with any form of anger, they are not comfortable. Sometimes their avoidance creates conflict or makes a heated situation worse. If you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, avoidance can be of benefit to you. In order to fix every conflict that arises in your home or workplace, it is not always your responsibility.
Dealing constructively with the emotions involved is the first goal in resolving conflict. Remember that you should deal with the other person with respect, listen until you “experience the other side,” and to state your views, needs, and feelings. Though talking may trigger conflict, it is also the only means of resolving it.
Talking must concentrate on defining the problem by saying, “I hear…” looking for agreement by saying, “I agree …â€ understanding feelings “I understand …â€ and stating views coolly. â€œ I think…” Some people throw head first into conflict devoid of determining if their timing is right to solve the situation. Some forget to set the terms for the confrontations. Others jump into a conflict by not knowing if the other person consents to the terms.
Using the method described above encourages the genuine and direct expression of feelings by one person at a time. When feelings are expressed, heard, and acknowledged, they are momentary. When they are not expressed, heard, or acknowledged, they aggravate. This approach can quickly resolve emotions so differences can be discussed more effectively.