Strategies for Managing Conflict Successfully

7 July 2016

Everyone has dealt some sort of conflict within a relationship. Whether you’ve experienced it with a significant other, family member, friends, or coworkers, it’s all conflict. Managing your conflict appropriately limits the negative aspects while increasing the positive aspects. John Gottman proposed that, “criticizing, showing contempt, becoming defensive, and engaging in stonewalling aren’t productive ways handling conflict. ”[1] You cannot escape conflict, so learned other alternatives will help you solve conflict proficiently.

Your options for dealing with conflict are based on your concern for your own needs and desires and your concern for the other party’s needs and desires. The five different management strategies we choose between when dealing with conflict are competing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising, and collaborating. From personal experience, and just in my own opinion, collaborating is the most effective management strategy when dealing with intimate relationships. Collaborating is a strategy for managing conflict that involves working toward a solution that meets both parties’ needs.

Strategies for Managing Conflict Successfully Essay Example

When practicing collaboration you are showing a higher concern for you and your partner’s needs. It is the most time consuming of the five strategies but it is the most effective. Showing that you have a mutual respect and understanding towards the other person makes you both feel at ease. This strategy is also known as the “win-win strategy”. [3] Collaborating is the ideal way of handling conflicts. It requires a great amount of patience, imagination, and energy.

Most the time people turn to collaborating when situations are dealing with addressing the interests of multiple parties, when a high-level of trust is present, when a long-term relationship is important, when you need to work through hard feelings/animosity, or when you don’t want to have full responsibility. For instance, on my birthday this year my boyfriend wanted it to be just him and myself. I, on the other hand, wanted to have a big birthday dinner with all of my friends and family. Neither one of us wanted to budge. He wanted to do something special just for me on my birthday.

Luckily my birthday was on a Wednesday, so I told him that we could go out and celebrate, just me and him, on my actual birthday. Then whenever the weekend rolled around, I’d celebrate it with my family and friends. With this solution, with both ended up getting what we wanted and were equally satisfied. When facing this conflict, we wouldn’t have used competing. Competition becomes problematic when it tarts leading to feelings of resentment or desires to get even with the other person. Avoiding also isn’t a good choice when dealing with conflicts.

If we just ignored each other’s feelings then nothing would have been solved. Avoidance leads to dissatisfying relationships. Accommodating wouldn’t have been fair on my part. When you accommodate you giving in to the other party’s needs while subordinating your own. It was my birthday, so I should’ve also had a say-so in how it was spent. Compromising isn’t as bad as the other strategies but it’s still when both people give up something they want to receive something they both want. There was no need in both of us losing out when we could easily collaborate and both satisfy our wants and needs.

Most of the time, when there’s a conflict, we would rather just have everything go our way and be solved the way we want it solved. That isn’t always the best way though. This happens a lot in relationships. Knowing the most efficient way to handle conflicts will help these relationships last longer. Conflict is going to happen. You wouldn’t want all your time, commitment, and investment to go down the drain because you were unable to solve problems within that relationship. This is why practicing collaboration will help you tremendously for managing conflicts successfully.

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