Thoughts on Conflict

The Ability to Handle Conflict with Wisdom

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Communication, Conflict Theory, Managing Conflict | Comments Off on The Ability to Handle Conflict with Wisdom

image for Handling Conflict with WisdomEveryone handles conflict in some way; not everyone can handle conflict with wisdom.

In fact, probably most people CANNOT handle conflict with wisdom,and absolutely no one can handle conflict with wisdom 100 percent of the time. We are human, and a plethora of conditions can affect how we respond in conflict. Under certain conditions, it would take a saint to walk out of a situation with addressing the conflict and without hurting another person.

There are people who simply fail at handling most conflict. These people usually lack people skills, the ability to handle themselves, the capacity to feel empathy, and absolutely little to no skills to address an adversarial situation. Their track record of failures around relationships or resolving conflict appropriately is a testament to their lack of skills and awareness. Of course, these people have a reputation reflecting their track record and are well-known by others who have to work or live with them.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who have people skills, self-mastery, empathy for people in opposing situations, and a powerful ability to handle conflict so that the conflict is resolved and relationships are unharmed. They, too, have a reputation and are often sought out by others for their insights and suggestions. These people are not perfect, but they learn from their mistakes and are motivated to be a better person.
Where do most of us stand? We are probably slightly above the medium mark leaning toward the healthier end. Those who have worked and lived around us and have witnessed us in a conflict would probably have some better insights where we specifically stand. Our inability to clearly see ourselves is a human condition facing most of us. The community around us can usually keep the perspective of assessing our skills. Waking up to how we participate in this world is in connecting with those people we interact with on a daily basis.

Change always creates conflict; they cannot be separated

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Conflict Theory, Managing Conflict, Perspective, Self-Mastery | Comments Off on Change always creates conflict; they cannot be separated

change graphicChange always creates conflict; they cannot be separated.

Change in our lives requires awareness, knowledge and skills. Although people, including families and corporations, try to push through it without addressing the changes taking place, the consequences eventually take its toll, which is rarely positive.

The first rule of change is to acknowledge it; we cannot alter or face anything that we are not aware of. Sometimes, we ignore what we cannot resolve. The prospect of the future is overwhelming, and we become paralyzed. Scarlett, in Gone with the Wind, simply said, “I will think about it tomorrow.” We saw how that ended.

The second rule is to become informed – the knowledge of the situation. This can take courage as fear of an adverse ending can spin us into interpreting information poorly. In other words, we lose perspective in the pursuit of perspective. Support to keep the change in perspective is sometimes critical in order to proceed. Also, this adage can help: “Remember, go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you will always be able to see further.”

Finally, we need skills. Skills are the abilities to handle life. The ability to handle conflict, emotions, resistance, loss, or a myriad of situations is not inherent. We have to learn these skills. Sometimes, we have to learn through trial and error. Fortunately, there are people who have had to face similar situations, so their guidance and knowledge is a gift.

Here is a fact: most people do not like change. Yes, we are afraid of the unknown. What we do not want to recognize is that change takes place all the time, and we are pretty good at handling it. The problem may not be change – the real problem is that we cannot choose which change we have to face.

Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly Sides of Conflict

Posted by on Aug 12, 2015 in Communication, Conflict Theory, developing interpersonal, Managing Conflict | Comments Off on Good, Bad, and Downright Ugly Sides of Conflict

bad+uglyConflict can fall, as a generalization, under three categories of results: good, bad, and downright ugly.

These results are not about the process of how conflict was managed, a different exploration all together, but an end product of its impact on an environment and/or human transformation. Determining the end result may not be immediate as conflict’s impact may not be understood or recognized for a long time after the event.

Good conflict provides clarity, growth, and positive movement. People or environments are improved, and the results have a lasting effect. Seatbelts are a good example. The conflict that surfaced around the requirements of cars having seatbelts, people having to use them, and, finally, the law established to enforce seatbelt usage was significant. The outcome, though, has been profound in saving human lives. The result of the conflict surrounding seatbelts had a positive effect on nearly all people.

Bad conflict erodes the human spirit, and everyone has been touched by it sometime in his/her life. Everyday occurrence of the same types of conflict that are never addressed sufficiently and systematically break down environments and individuals’ sense of well-being are widespread. The one thing that all these conflicts have in common is someone who has power over others who shouldn’t have it. Those without the power are the targets. Supervisors, parents, public servants, hierarchy of all social structures, just to name a few, have a direct impact of others and can make lives miserable who have to suffer under them. Those in power often lack understanding, education, or a willingness to improve; thus, a toxic cycle of their behavior is continued.

Finally, there is the ugly. Unlike bad conflict, there is an agenda for this type of conflict, it usually involves a group that is committed, and this type of conflict can have an extensive influence on people. These groups are fueled by anger, greed, hate, and even a self-serving righteous calling. This type of conflict is dedicated to getting power, disrupting communities, harming people and their environment, and creating economic, political, social, and community upheaval. Examples would include greedy corporations that harm environments and people such as Monsanto and Nestle. Groups that may not have a listing in the phone book would be The Ku Klux Klan, small and radical militant groups, and the Mafia.