Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to untangle any conflict

This article relates to the topic of conflict management in the workplace. In our textbook (p.101), conflict is defined as when two or more people clash over an issue about which they have different beliefs or values. Overall, conflict correlates with misunderstandings or confusion between people. Although there are many causes of conflict, many of which can be found in the textbook, there are many strategies that might help us to deal with these conflicts effectively, positively and successfully.

1.      Determine what you really want: Nobody enjoys arguing so in the heat of the moment when you are you should; stop, acknowledge that you would like to work things out and suggest an alternate time to discuss a negotiation. Importantly, think about your ideal outcome of the discussion. Writing down your feelings can help bring clarity to your thoughts. Do not let your emotions get the best of you.
2.       Gather information: After working on your thoughts, find out about the other person’s. Never assume to know what the other person is feeling. Never tune out the other party. Understanding the other person’s position as best as you can is key if you want to reach an agreement. An example of applying this is suppose you didn’t get a promotion that you believed you deserved. Instead of confronting your boss (which is a bad!), you should ask them why they felt you weren’t a good fit for the position.
3.      Determine your negotiation process: Begin this process by deciding whom you want to be present for the discussion when and where it will take place. Having a neutral setting will make both parties comfortable. Set ground rules for how you will talk to each other. You should vow to keep name-calling and accusations out of your discussion. Also deciding ahead of time who will speak first will help.
4.      Send the right message: You should go into the discussion with several ideas on how to resolve the matter/conflict. Making it clear that you are there to work things out will help establish common grounds with the other person. Avoid movements that show irritation or frustration (folding arms, rolling eyes, deep sighing, pointing fingers).
5.      Negotiate: Take turns stating grievances, speaking only in your turn. When you feel like your “losing your cool”, take a couple of deep breaths and wait a few seconds before responding. That way you can avoid saying negative things out of anger again! Also, slow down the communication so you can fully process the situation before speaking. A good phrase is; “Let me understand what it is you’re saying”.

If all else fails conflicts will not resolve themselves by simply avoiding or ignoring them. Bringing in a mediator helps to play the neutral party and gather information collectively from both sides in order to find the best solution for both people. Taking initiative, responsibility and positive steps to overcome conflict and find a solution will help increase your chances of a positive outcome about the situation, relationship and feelings toward yourself.

Article:, CNN


  1. I think this article lists some good points on how to sort through a conflict. Determining what a person really wants can help them communicate their point, and make sure that what they want is the issue the conflict is about. Going into a conflict with ideas about how it should be resolved can help resolve the conflict in a painless manner. However, a person has to be willing to compromise.

  2. It is important to take some time on each step and not rush it, even though emotions could be pushing. To best resolve an issue one has to calmly negotiate with the opponent to achieve best results that create win-win situation for both.

  3. To many times have I seen conflict take a turn for the worse. Conflict is not always a bad thing especially if you follow these steps. Conflict sometimes helps spark some of the greatest ideas.