December 7, 2010

Managing conflicts that are value driven

These conflicts defy solution because they are driven by inner values. These can destroy homes, families, companies, and nations. We are stuck with our value system. Only rarely, do people shfit their values. It's better to say, "Let's agree to disagree" when we're in a value-driven conflict. The issue isn't resolved, but the relationship stays alive. That's good.

This is what happens in value-driven conflicts:
1. There is no insistence on seeking the facts
2. There is seldom review of the circumstances
3. Each side is solidly immovable - the other person is consistently "wrong"
4. Not much interest in listening to the other's position
5. Seeking a better way is the goal - only when you see it my way!
6. "Cynicism" replaces "Trust" in finding a better way to come together

Some examples of value-driven conflicts...
- I believe in getting ahead, financially, any way I can. vs I believe what you're about to do is illegal.
- I believe our country will be better off we buy American-made goods. Vs I believe it's better to get the "best price" we can - no matter who made it.
- I believe we ought to help the less fortunate in every way we can. vs I believe we ought to let "the cream rise to the top".
- I believe in marriage. vs I believe the institution is not necessary.
- I believe in mercy killing. vs I believe in preserving life - no matter the circumstances.

However, here are some things I have learned to do to manage conflict...
1. Try to hold your tongue when you're feeling angry. You'll be glad you did.
2. De-escalate the conflict as soon as you realize you are stuck.
3. Deeply listen to the other's position (though hard to do at times.)
4. Demonstrate respect for the person - though you may disagree with the issue.
5. Learn the specific set of communication skills for managing conflict.
6. Hold on, as long as you can, to optimism that the conflict is resolvable.
7. Know your best option, if the issue is value-driven, is to "agree to disagree".
8. Leave behind "entitlement" and "blaming" as you communicate.
9. Healthy outcomes from skillfully managed conflict
10. Restored respect for the individual
11. Possible solution that neither of you thought of before
12. Better understanding of how to skillfully handle future conflicts
13. Relationship lives on and may even flourish
14. Unhealthy outcomes from poorly managed conflict
15. Long-term distrust and disregard
16. Stalemate on an issue or situation
17. Physical health issues - high blood pressure, palpitations, headaches, etc.
18. Relationship becomes toxic and may, eventually, die

If you feel the conflict is problem solved instead of values driven, see previous post.

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