last updated 11/6/2009
Myths Concerning Conflict
Conflict is harmful and should be avoided -- No, only if
Misunderstanding or communication breakdown is the cause of conflict --
No, only occasionally (see list below)
- expands exploration of issues
- helps critical thinking and decisions
- increases involvement
- can increase cohesiveness
Conflict can always be resolved - No! but it can be managed productively.
General Steps in Managing Conflict
Identify the type of conflict.
Set conflict management rules (meta-communicate): stop arguing and discuss how to manage the conflict
Apply the appropriate techniques for
the type of conflict that has occurred --
Avoid making it personal if it doesn't start that way.
Use appropriate skills:
Compromise (or agree to disagree) only as a last resort.
- Remember perceptions are SUBJECTIVE BUT REAL to members -- "own" your perceptions
- para-phrase and para-support and confirm relationships
- avoid irrelevancies and "past history"
- keep a future orientation -- avoid the blame game ("who caused it")
- leave people an option to" save face"