Approaches to Conflict – Part 3

We have been looking at some strategies for better managing conflict and saw the need to have a back-up plan and to also separate people from problems, knowing that conflict can be approached as a means of positive growth and problem solving, rather than necessarily seeing it as destructive or as something to be avoided.

Conflict is also turned into a plus when we engage a person in a pathway to a solution.  This means trying to see past different expectations and to then understand the person well enough and for long enough in any new tussle (irrespective of how well acquainted you are with them).  It also means walking with them toward an outcome where new expectations are formulated. 

It is important, therefore, to seek to know where a person is coming from.  International relations are often tricky because of different cultural expectations.  But clashes of expectations really lie at the heart of all conflict and when expectations are not met, you quickly realise how unreasonable a person can seem.  Of course, this may not be fair, but knowing the expectations means needing more and better communication.  The depth and breadth of conversation needed usually requires a very deliberate burying of hostilities. 

When the person is engaged in this way (maybe over a coffee or a meal, if appropriate) the disarming nature of building a relational connection can formulate new possibilities as a framework of mutual trust is built. Although time and circumstances (and maybe your will!) do not always permit this, try to turn every strained conversation into a microcosm of this engagement and you will usually find that, even if you lose the odd battle, you mostly win the war.

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2 thoughts on “Approaches to Conflict – Part 3

    • Very true. I often quote a verse from Proverbs 27:17 that “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” As iron sharpens iron, though, sparks fly. Conflict becomes a part of our sharpening so it can therefore be a great growth-promoter in all of us.

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