November 9, 2010

Managing conflicts that can be problem solved

What happens to us when we get into conflict?
We BOTH know we're right!
I see the event this way. You see the event that way.
I want to go north. You want to go south.
I believe coffee is bad for you. You think coffee is good for you.
I don't want to be home by midnight. You have to be home by midnight.

Behavioralists often categorize conflict in these two ways:
1. Conflicts that can be problem solved (discussed in this post)
2. Conflicts that are values-driven (discussed in next post)

Let’s talk about conflicts that can be problem-solved first. These conflicts are often problem-solved by the following:
1. Studying the facts
2. Reviewing the circumstances
3. Analyzing the history of trust
4. Listening to possible causes
5. Seeking a better way, a higher way, a more productive way
6. Trusting that the problem does, indeed, have a solution
7. Staying in the communication cycle until a solution or compromise emerges.

Some examples:
- Around the house, we get into conflict about fixing things that are broken. We conflict about ongoing family needs. We find conflict when a family income is reduced.
- Within the family, we get into conflict over raising the kids. We get into family conflicts over myriads of reasons - most solved by compromise or reasoning.
- At work, we disagree over ways to increase our bottom-line. We must innovate new ways of generating revenue. We must build our market share by advertising, networking, developing public relations. We must satisfy the needs of our workforce (our associates and our team members). We must constantly improve our processes. All of these are full of conflict situations.

When you find yourself in conflict, I would encourage you to "move quickly".
1. There is no guarantee that any of us have "Tomorrow". 2. The sooner you settle the disagreement, the quicker you can get back to playing.3. The sooner you find a solution, the sooner you'll be able to get back to business.4. You don't have control over time. If you are waiting for "Time" to heal it, consider this: businesses go under while people wait, and families lose loved ones while people wait. Don't be a "Someday Fool".
5. You do have control over your choices.
That's how I recommend we manage conflict. Don't let it "manage" you!

Your Managing Conflict Homework:1. Today, think of someone with whom you are "cross-wise".
2. Today, make a phone call and set an appointment to discuss.
3. Stay in the conversation long enough to hear and be heard.
4. Remain positive that there is a healthy outcome. (Keep going; it takes time.)
5. Work it out...in most situations there is a creative solution.
Time may (or may not) be on your side.

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