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Conflict Resolution Training - How to Manage Conflict

Conflict resolution training

Conflict is inevitable. On occasion, you are bound to have conflict with others. Why?

Because people do not all share the same ideas: We each of us have our own ideas about what is true, what is fair and what is good.

For example:

  • What I think is true, you don't think is true.
  • What I think is fair, you think is unfair,
  • What I think is good, you think is no good.

And vice versa.

Conflict is inevitable, because we all have our own opinions about the good, the fair and the true.

Conflict can be beneficial

It can sometimes be the case that a disagreement may generate a new, better solution: a solution that is the cause of mutual progress.
You think it is left, I think it is right, we argue, and we agree to find a middle way.
And then later we find that the middle way was, in fact, the best route forward.
So, conflict, in some cases, can lead us to better solutions. But only if the conflicts are handled properly.

Conflict can lead us to better solutions; but only if they are handled properly; meaning, that we manage our conflicts according to the principles of reason. Not emotion.

Handle conflicts according to the principles of reason

Here are two important rules.

  1. Make your conflicts an exercise in the application of your logic and your reason.
  2. Do not make your conflicts an exercise in bloodletting and emotional outbursts.

Those people, whose conflicts degenerate into a bloodletting and a series of emotional outbursts, end up in a situation that is worse than when they started the conflict.

Those people, whose conflict is an exercise in the application of logic and reason, usually end up in a situation that is better than when they started the conflict.

Conflict should be an exercise in the application of your reason. Be a rational conflict manager.

In order to be a rational conflict manager, you need to know the following:

  1. Never argue for entertainment value.
  2. Distinguish between the facts, the opinions and the feelings.
  3. Know when to compromise and when not to.

Let us say a word on each of the above three points.

1. Never argue for entertainment value

Remember that every argument you have with the other person causes some damage to the relationship. Each conflict you have carries a cost. So, don't argue for entertainment value.

Here are some vitally important rules.

  • Pick your battles.
  • Fight only those battles that, if you were to win, would cause you to gain something more valuable than the cost of the battle.
  • Don't have pointless arguments that, even if you won, you have won nothing, except the bad feelings engendered in the soul of your antagonist.

2. Distinguish between the facts, the opinions and the feelings

In your own mind, as you look out, onto the world, break the world into two major sets:

  1. The objective part of your experience.
  2. The subjective part of your experience.
  • The objective parts of your experience are the facts, apart from your opinions and feelings.
  • The subjective parts of your experience are your opinions and feelings (about the facts).

Here is a vitally important rule: When in conflict try to talk in objective, factual terms.

When in conflict try not to talk in subjective, opinionated, and emotional terms.

  • Talk about the facts that lead to your feelings.
  • Don't talk about your feelings themselves.
  • Talk about the facts that lead to your anger.
  • Don't talk about how angry you are.

Stick to the facts. Keep the conversation off your bad feelings and your derogatory opinions.

3. Know when to compromise and when not to

In a conflict situation, compromise, is the act of finding the middle ground between two points.

  • Sometimes compromise is good.
  • Sometimes compromise is not good.

Here is the rule: Do not compromise on your basic principles.

Compromise only on the application of principles. For example you cannot afford to compromise on the basic principle of "Honesty relating to property".

You can't, for example, have an "acceptable level" of thieving going on, in the office.

  • You cannot compromise on the issue of physical bullying. You cannot have a "middle ground compromise level" of physical abuse in a care home.
  • You can compromise on issues of price.

If I think my car is worth 5,000, and you think it is worth 4,500; then we might find a compromise price of 4,780.
But we are operating within a principle of honest trade. The principle of honest trade is non-negotiable.

The principle of reason is non-negotiable

Do not compromise on your commitment to rational conflict resolution methods.

If you are not rational, that leaves you open to being:

  1. A Non-rational conflict manager.
  2. An Irrational conflict manager.
  3. An Emotional conflict manager.
  4. An Argumentative conflict manager.

None of the above is any good to you. Be a rational conflict manager.

Summary of Rules

  1. Make your conflicts an exercise in the application of your logic and your reason.
  2. Do not make your conflicts an exercise in bloodletting and emotional outbursts.
  3. Never fight for entertainment value.
  4. Fight only those battles that, if you were to win, would cause you to gain something more valuable than the cost of the battle.
  5. When in conflict, try to talk in objective, factual terms. Talk about the facts that lead to your feelings. Don't talk about your negative feelings themselves.
  6. Know when to compromise and when not to.
  7. Do not compromise on your basic principles.
  8. Be a rational conflict manager.

If you wish to attend a course on rational conflict resolution techniques, or if you want to arrange a course to be delivered in house at your place of work, please follow this link.

Conflict Management

Conflict Management Training

Conflict is inevitable, because people disagree. Therefore, you must be able to handle conflict situations effectively. You must know how to be assertive, clear and professional (not emotional, upset and angry) whilst in conflict. If you want to learn more on how to achieve this, please click here to see our conflict management training.

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