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Dealing with Conflict

Dealing with ConflictMy husband grew up with ten siblings.  When I married him, I soon discovered that his family dealt with conflict a lot differently than mine had.                           

My husband’s family used humor quite often, often pairing it with a strategy referred to as accommodating.  When there was a disagreement or differing opinions among his brothers and sisters, the phrase, “Let’s just get along,” would usually be spoken in a lilting voice by SOMEONE in the group.  It helped lighten the mood and ease the tension.  It was a way to accommodate differences and smooth things over.  It worked well sometimes.

At other times, a different approach would have worked better.

Conflict happens.  It is unavoidable.  It occurs in in families, at workplaces, and in business, civic, and church groups and organizations. 

Conflict doesn’t have to be negative or polarizing.  When we understand conflict and learn to manage it, the result can be BETTER ideas, a more productive family, group, or team, and more satisfied people in the family, group, or team. 

There are at least five approaches for resolving conflict:

                - avoidance (denial)

                - accommodation (smoothing over)

                - competition (exercising power)

                - compromise (using negotiation)

                - collaboration (problem solving)

Each approach is actually a strategy or method for dealing with conflict.

There is no one correct method of resolving conflicts.  Any one approach may be appropriate or inappropriate, depending on the specific situation or circumstances at the time.  Choosing a strategy to resolve conflict will depend on the issue, the group, and time available for coming to a solution.

Each of the various strategies is presented in more detail in the NDSU Extension publication, “Managing Conflict,” (FS-1563).  It is available online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs1563.pdf, or from the county extension office.  Practical tips, and also some cautions, are included in the publication. 

As always, please give me a call if you or your friends, family, co-workers or employees have a topic you would like to learn more about through a presentation, lesson, program, activity or workshop.  NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and we are here to serve you!

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stoneysteiner/5999358838  (downloaded 1-25-18)

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