The following article was contributed by Sandra L. Brown - Expert Author
Two Forms of Contact You Can Use When Dealing With Conflict
Two specific forms of communication you can use to reduce conflict in professional relationships.
Let's face it, communication is important. When we don't have a healthy form of itall of our relationships suffer including personal and professional.
Conflict is inevitable even in the best of relationships so we have to know how to communicate during the difficulties we experience while in conflict with someone.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
There are many styles of contact that people have with one another when communicating during a conflict of sorts.
Below we will illustrate to you two styles in particular. They are: Collaboration and Obliging.
An individual with a knowledge of these styles can select the style most appropriate for a specific conflict. It is also possible, once a style is identified, to better understand the motivations of others during conflict.
Collaboration is the win/win conflict management style. Individuals who choose this style seek an exchange of information. There is a desire to examine differences and reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties. This style is typically associated with problem-solving and is effective when issues are complex.
The collaborative style encourages creative thinking. Developing alternatives is one of the strengths of this style. Its emphasis on all parties synthesises information from divergent perspectives. However, it is not an effective style when a party lacks commitment or when time is limited. Collaboration takes time. It can be a frustrating style during higher levels of conflict when reason and rational considerations are often overshadowed by emotional commitments to a position.
The collaborative style rallies people to find solutions to complex issues. It is excellent when people and the problem are clearly separate, and usually fruitless when people really want to fight. The collaborative style can be a positive motivator in brainstorming or problem-solving sessions. Just be sure everyone with an interest in the situation is included.
Phrases you can use to trigger the collaborative conflict management style include:
"There seems to be different opinions here, let's get to the bottom of this." or, "Let's get several people from each department together and discuss the options."
Obliging, also called placating, is another style of conflict management. Obliging places a high value on others but a low value on self, perhaps reflecting an individual's low self esteem. It's also a strategy that can be used to deliberately elevate another person, making them feel better about an issue. use of obliging by raising another's status is useful, especially if your position within the company is not a politically precarious one.
This style is useful if a manager is unsure of a position or fears a mistake has been made. By using the obliging style, the manager passively accepts the power of others, buying time to assess situations and survey alternatives. The obliging style gives power to others. If you've got expendable power, it can build trust and confidence in others. If you are secure in your position, it can be used as a method of delegation.
Phrases that signal the obliging style include:
"I don't care, whatever you want." or, "You're the expert, what do you think?"
These two easy ways of communicating can ease tensions in both personal and professional altercations. Having a few techniques to smooth over the hard times of conflict, can be a win-win for everyone!
Sandra L. Brown, M.A. is a psychotherapist and author in the field of relationships and dangerous interactions.
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