What is Conflict?
[verb kuhn-flikt; noun kon-flikt]
- a fight, battle, or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife.
- controversy; quarrel: conflicts between parties.
- discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles: a conflict of ideas.
- incompatibility or interference, as of one idea, desire, event, or activity with another: a conflict in the schedule.
Why is it Important?
A conflict is the result of two or more parties having different opinions or positions on one or more issues. Conflict occurs when two or more parties have a disagreement. This can occur through verbal communication or by actually doing something others don’t like. It can start out simple and escalate rapidly. It be happen between friends, between co-workers, someone acting on partial information or by making assumptions. Conflict is caused by the actions of people whether they do it, see it, hear it or say it.
We all have our own set of values, ideals, assumptions, opinions, and thoughts, collectively known as “filters,” and sometimes these ideals will conflict with the viewpoint of other people in our daily lives. We all tend to judge people and situations though those filters, potentially creating avenues for conflict in any one of a variety of ways.
Dealing With Conflict
Since conflict is a part of our daily lives, we simply need to learn ways to recognize and how to best handle it. The task may not be easy or pleasant, but not dealing with the conflict generally does not make it go away. Recognizing the root cause of the conflict is necessary if we are to overcome the conflict and come to an amicable solution.
Good and Bad Conflict
Since we have conflict in our daily lives it is helpful to be able to distinguish between "anabolic" or Good Conflict, and "catabolic" or Bad Conflict.
Good Conflict focuses on creating positive solutions and outcomes to the issues by amicably working with others towards a common goal. Building people up rather than tearing them down. Good conflict occurs when there is an open and honest questioning of procedures. It is the type of conflict that opens the doorway to innovation and collaboration normally found in open discourse. Bad Conflict involves personal attacks, speaking poorly about others, and when winning is most important goal. It can occur when communication is so broken down that 'the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing'.
When to Get Help
When a given conflict has grown so far out of control, the issue(s) is/are seemingly too big to handle, and the conversation has completly stalled, there is the danger that relationships could be permanently damaged. This type of situation is what some consider to be far beyond time to bring in an Arbitrator or Mediator to help resolve the disagreement. This third party service provider's primary function is to work closely with the involved parties uncovering all of the circumstances and potential solutions to achieve an acceptable resolution. The outcome of this arrangement, depending on the role of this neutral third party may be either provided (Arbitration) or a mutually agreed upon decision (Mediation).
Finding Resolution is Important
Many times disagreements can be resolved by sitting down with someone who is trained in the different types of issue resolution facilitation. The arbitrators and mediators at JK & Associates are trained in this type of facilitation and problem solving; the ability to evaluate the conflict, understand why it happened, and assist the parties with working towards a resolution. Their years of experience leading and facilitating groups and individuals in both the workplace and the private sector will be extremely useful during their time with you. There are times when outside assistance may be needed by the parties to deal with their specific needs. Should that need arise, we are happy to refer you to qualified professionals who can assist with those particular requirements.