Assignment:Respond to (2) two of your colleagues’ posts in one or more of the following ways: See attachments for detailed instructions
Discussion 2: How Do You Experience Conflict?
Conflict comes in many forms and guises. It may be expected or a surprise. How we have experienced previous conflicts colors how we prepare for new conflicts as they surface. Consequences affect how we approach conflict. If we often “win” conflicts, we may be more open to engaging in conflict again. Or we may win at the expense of others and find that conflicts destroy relationships, which may discourage entering into new conflict situations. Sometimes being in a conflict is so messy and uncomfortable that our primary objective is to get out of it—win or lose.
The tools that we have developed to handle conflict also influence how we engage in conflict. Are you mindful? How good are your listening skills? What emotions are triggered when you feel attacked, and how do you manage those emotions? Are you able to channel them into curious exploration of the issues at hand? To what extent are you open to being adaptable and flexible to change? Do you think about how to use conflict to your strategic advantage? How often are your responses to conflict more proactive or more reactive? As you consider past conflicts, which of these tools and strategies have worked best for you? Which would you like to develop more fully?
The inevitability of conflict assures us that we will have ample opportunity to become more adept at dealing with conflict. This Discussion is intended to help us step back, depersonalize conflict, and take an objective look at the way we deal with conflict. The theories to analyze conflict provide different lenses or views of conflict that might help to change our perspective toward it. As we begin to more fully understand what the conflicts are about and our learned ways of engaging, we open up the possibility of learning different ways of engaging that might be more effective for us and those with whom we have conflict.
Choose a conflict you have experienced within your life. This experience can be either a group-on-group conflict or an interpersonal conflict.
To prepare for this Discussion, pay particular attention to the following Learning Resources:
Review this week’s Learning Resources, especially:
Elements of conflict resolution – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2pNOnZabek
Communication in Conflict – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ922fHMu9c
Managing Conflict Through Communication – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l1ZTdcT-jI
Assignment – Respond to at least two of your peers' postings in one or more of the following ways:
· Reading about the conflicts of your peers, which resonated most with you? In a similar situation from your life, how does the theory that they applied fit?
· Which communication tools for managing conflict do you use well, and which would you like to develop more fully and/or use more frequently?
· What have you seen in this post that might influence you to change your attitude or behavior in a future conflict situation?
· APA citing
· No plagiarism
1st Colleague – Natasha Mills
Discussion 2 How Do You Experience Conflict?
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One conflict that I have had with someone was when a colleague who doubled up as a friend shared something personal with me. I was not aware that this piece of information was supposed to be a secret during the time of sharing. As a result, one time during lunchbreak, we were having a conversation with other colleagues and I brought the issue up in the defense of my colleague and friend. My colleague suddenly left the table, evidently angry, leading me to the realization that what I had disclosed was the triggering event of the conflict that was to follow (Cahn & Abigail, 2014). When I followed her to apologize, she stated that what I disclosed was a secret and I betrayed her. I began to defend myself that she never told me that piece of information was supposed to be a secret otherwise I would not have revealed it. She told me that she needed some time and after several days we resolved it and amended our friendship.
The resolution of the conflict stemmed from an understanding of the roles that each of us played in the conflict. For instance, I understood that I had crossed a boundary by revealing such information about my friend since it was not my place to tell it. My colleague, on the other hand, understood that she was not clear as to whether or not the information was supposed to be a secret. Therefore, we managed to resolve the issue and attain a win-win outcome, a situation referred to as successful conflict (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).
My metaphor for conflict is that conflict is a dance. It requires the conflicting parties to move back and forth, each time striving to get to where the other is in their frustration and anger, as well as moving with them toward the goal of resolving the conflict and saving the relationship. The metaphor applies to the conflict I have described in the sense that I tried to understand my friend’s frustration and anger in the situation, while she strived to understand my unawareness of the secrecy of the information. This corresponds with the back and forth movement of the dance. Thereafter, we successfully resolved the conflict to save our relationship, which is an aspect that corresponds with the idea of moving together toward a common goal part of the metaphor. As a result, we effectively managed the conflict because we were both satisfied with the outcome (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).
The six-step confrontation process is a theory that explains confrontation as a method of conflict resolution. The theory identifies six steps for confronting conflict and arriving at a solution. The steps include the identification of the issue, translating to preparation, scheduling for a meet up place and time to talk, talking about the situation, listening, responding, and empathizing with understanding, also referred to as interpersonal confrontation, mutually resolving the problem through satisfying agreement, and setting a reevaluation time limit (Cahn & Abigail, 2014). The steps are claimed to lead to effective conflict management because it allows the parties to backtrack each time they are stopped at a step, for more thorough addressing of the situation.
The approach that my colleague and I used to address the conflict between us resemble the six-step confrontation process. We were able to identify the issue, as well as set a meeting place and time to talk (Cahn & Abigail, 2014). When talking, we confronted each other with empathy and understanding, leading to the resolution of the conflict in a manner that was satisfying to both of us. However, we did not set a time limit to follow up on the solution of the conflict because we did not feel the need to do so. ‘We suggest that you set a date with the other to return to the issue at hand to evaluate the progress made, reward yourself if successful, or to revise your agreement if not” (Cahn & Abigail, 2014, p.65-66). We resolved the conflict during the first try hence did not have the need to evaluate the progress made. Regardless, the rest of the theory applies to the described conflict.
Cahn, D. D., & Abigail, R. A. (2014). Managing conflict through communication (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
2nd Colleague – Donna Tizzano
Donna Tizzano D2 – Week 1 initial post
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This week we have learned that conflict is inevitable and will occur in all personal and professional relationships. Because conflict happens in all relationships, and relationships are dynamic and never static, we must view conflict and communication as a process that will ultimately lead us toward a favorable resolution to the conflict. This approach can be easier than it sounds since people have different views and bring different experiences to a relationship (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).
The process view of conflict management explains five phases to help people resolve conflict successfully: prelude to the conflict, the triggering event, the initiation of conflict, the differentiation phase, and finally, the resolution phase (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).
I often experience a conflict with my son who is now 17. Cahn and Abigail (2014) share that interpersonal conflict is a conflict that occurs with those closest to us and with those we are in a close and important, ongoing relationship with, therefore, it is important for us to learn how to manage conflicts successfully. Historically, my son and I have always been close and have communicated very clearly and effectively. He was a talker and shared everything with me. My son also used to be autonomous in helping around the house. For instance, he would cut the grass and take the trash out when needed. He would then take the garbage cans out the night before they were due to be picked up without being told. As he has gotten older, he must be consistently reminded to take the trash out. The different variables involved, my son’s age, the change in relationship/communication between my son and I, and my son’s change in behavior acts as the “prelude” to the conflict since these variables create a potential for conflict.
Now, my directive to take the trash out each week must be repeated over and over until I get so frustrated that I ultimately do it myself. At this point, I become resentful and angry, often not speaking to him, and snapping at him for trivial things that have nothing to do with why I am upset. This stage of the process is the “triggering event” where my behavior changes due to my son not doing what is expected. My son did not even seem to know why I was angry; he continued with his life like nothing was amiss which made me more upset.
Because my son’s behavior had become so frustrating to me, four months ago, I sat down with him to verbalize my frustration for not taking the garbage out when I ask him to. The “initiation” phase is the third step in the process view of conflict management, where one person identifies to the other person that conflict exists. I explained how angry and frustrated I get that he never takes the garbage out until I ask him multiple times and that I end up doing it myself, which makes me more furious. I shared that it is an expectation that he completes this responsibility each week without having to be asked. My son shared with me that he understands this is an expectation and is completely agreeable to doing it, but that I already have it done by the time he gets home from work-out between 10-11 pm. He explained that he was unaware that this was so frustrating to me and that it was the reason I had been so reactive lately. I explained to my son that I expected the garbage to be taken out before going to work-out and baseball practice, so he is not doing it late at night. I explained that there had been a lot of violence in our neighborhood lately, and I fear for his safety if he is taking the trash out late at night. This constructive exchange of information, identifying the differences in perception of how we viewed the situation, is the “differentiation” phase of the conflict process.
The final phase is the “resolution” phase of the conflict process. In the situation between my son and me, once he understood my actions and reactions were out of fear for his safety, he willingly adjusted his schedule and has been taking the trash out before going to work-out and practice each week.
The outcome of this conflict was favorable for both of us. The outcome from this conflict helps me realize that conflict can be viewed in a positive way and that effective and open communication is essential in resolving conflicts successfully (Cahn & Abigail, 2014).
The metaphor that describes the conflict I experienced with my son is a pottery artist who takes a piece of clay and forms it into a beautiful piece of art. The creation of this object does not happen in one attempt. The clay is often partially formed into a creation and because it is not the way the artist envisioned it, they adjust and make revisions to the clay to reform it into a piece of art that expresses their vision and creativity. The artist does not stop revising and reforming the clay until they get it right. Each time we deal with a conflict, especially one that occurs in an interpersonal relationship, we can learn from the experience. Moving forward, by demonstrating appropriate behaviors and effective communication, we will be able to manage conflict more effectively and hopefully create an outcome agreeable to everyone involved.
In the conflict I have described, I have realized that relationships are constantly changing. The way I communicated with my son at age 12 is different from the way I need to communicate with him now. Reflecting on how I initially handled the conflict, I recognize that I did not communicate effectively. I shut down communication, became angry and resentful, and would snap at him for things not related to why I was upset. We should strive to improve our communication skills, behaviors, and how we handle conflict with each episode we engage in. As the artist continues to strive to create the perfect piece of art, so should we strive to consistently improve our communication skills such as active listening, not interrupting when someone is speaking, making eye contact, etc. so that each time we are in a conflict, we can manage it more effectively than the last conflict. If I had shared the reasons for my frustration with my son earlier, the conflict may have been avoided completely.
The Uncertainty Theory is one of the five theories that describe conflict. This theory describes how conflict can create uncertainty in a relationship where one or both parties question how to act or relate (Cahn & Abigail, 2014). There can also be uncertainty in the conflict process itself when an underlying misunderstanding occurs because one or both parties in the relationship do not have all the information to understand the rationale for the other person’s actions or behaviors (Cahn & Abigail, 2014). In the example I provided, my son did not realize that my negative behaviors were out of resentment for having to take the garbage out each week. He did not know I was expecting him to take it out earlier in the day to avoid him being out late at night for fear of his safety. He believed I was doing it because it needed to be done. Without sufficient information, my son was not able to realize the reason for my reactive behaviors, ultimately creating stress within our relationship.
Clear and effective communication is the best way to decrease uncertainty within relationships and diminish the adverse effects of conflict.
Have a good week,
Cahn, D. D., & Abigail, R. A. (2014). Managing conflict through communication (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education
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