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Learn Techniques of conflict Management

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Conflict ManagementArguments are evident in most relationships. Some people choose to avoid them at all costs, and never express their opinion. Others dominate an argument with insults and aggressive intimidation. These types of behavior can be detrimental to the relationship. But there is such a thing as healthy arguing. This takes practice and is a learned skill, but utilizing the techniques described in the article can make arguments much less painful, and infinitely more productive.

Conflicts can be scary and cause hostility, anger and resentment. Often yelling results. It is said that communication is inversely connected to the volume of the speaker ( i.e. the louder the speaker yells, the less is understood by the listener). With this in mind the following eight steps should be used in a quiet voice to enhance the effectiveness of your conflict management style.

Take responsibility for the problem. It may not be your fault, but if in your mind you take the blame, it is less likely the conflict will accelerate. People often feel defensive in conflicts, but if one individual is willing to approach the conflict with statements and attitudes that suggest responsibility the whole ordeal will move more smoothly. One way of accomplishing this is by using “I” statements. These statements are to replace “you” statements which cast blame on others.

For example:

“I” Statement “You” Statement

“I am upset that it is so late. I was worried, and couldn’t sleep.”

“You are in trouble for being late.”

“I was hoping to spend time together”

“You never spend time with me.”

“I am tired and hurt; I don’t know how to get through.”

“You do not understand me.”

The first row of statements are easier for the listener to hear, and will cause him/her to think about the conflicts rather than just reacting.

Listen, really listen to the other person’s point of view. Sometimes in an argument people get so caught up in their own cause they sacrifice the relationship in order to be right. Even if you disagree with the other person’s point of view, be able to tell them their perspective. Paraphrase what the other person has been saying, so they can say, “Yes, that is exactly how I feel,” or “No, that is not what I mean at all.” If both parties go through this process, a great deal of understanding can be achieved.

Explore options with the other person. Come up with outrageous solutions, even ones that will make you laugh. In fact, laughter may lighten the tension and make it possible to relax in a bad situation. Brainstorm and come up with as many options as possible. Do not evaluate options at this point; just gather as many ideas as possible.

Start to narrow down solutions. Discard the ones that will not work, and explain the reasons to each other. Be gentle and honest in this technique otherwise the argument may flare up again. If that does happen. Take yourself back to technique #2 to get to the emotions that are resurfacing.

Make a decision together. This is a decision of consensus. One that all parties agree on this is the plan that will be taken to make things work better and resolve the conflict.

Put the plan into action, follow through on what was said in the argument. If the argument is concluded and one party does not stick to his/her word, trust is compromised, and this can be a dangerous thing to a relationship.

Look back on what was decided and how the action plan is working. Talk about how it feels, and whether the desired effect is being achieved.

Sometimes techniques #5, #6, and #7 can not be reached. If this is the case, agree to disagree. Sometimes it is okay to table the argument after the first five steps have been carried out, because there is no easy resolution. This is okay, if both parties can see that their perspectives are too different to find a common ground. Leave it. The relationship can still be strong, even though some issues are irreconcilable.

Conflict is everywhere. The greater an individual’s ability to deal with conflict, the better that person will deal with people in general. Whether the goal is teaching, politics, management, or general labor; everyone benefits when they can communicate their needs and hear the requests of others. These skills can be applied to a multitude of situations for positive interpersonal outcomes.


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