Out of all the news and the information we read in the newspaper and get from our neighbors in a day, most of them are based on one or the other conflict between individuals or groups that took place in the country or in the neighborhood. Conflict simply means disagreement, but it is not as simple as it seems. An unresolved conflict can even lead to a war between two countries or violence between two people or groups. When two people have disagreement on the same issue, clashes take place. Conflict is inevitable. As long as there have been people, there have been conflicts.
Each one of us is different. All of us cannot have similar view point on every issue. Therefore, whenever the views on a certain issue clash, conflict takes place between the involved parties. There can be only two consequence of any disagreement- either it will get worse or it will get solved. A learned person is the one who comes out of the conflict or resolves the conflict neither by giving in or by giving up. This situation is called a Win-Win situation in a conflict resolution. That is when both the parties who are involved in a conflict find a middle way so that none of the egos are hurt and the disagreement is solved without any party winning or losing.
In 1976, Thomas Kilman suggested 5 different ways of resolving a conflict:
1. Accommodation: Accommodation is when one of the parties involved in the conflict withdraws from the argument surrendering in front of the other party. It is to acclimatize to the wishes of the other party involved i.e quietly agreeing to what the other party wishes by sacrificing one’s own wish. If possible, accommodation is the best and the simplest way to resolve any conflict and should be utilized frequently.
2. Avoidance: As the name explains, Avoidance means avoiding or postponing the conflict. It is not a permanent measure to resolve the conflict. It involves restraining oneself from getting into the argument by the ways like:
a. Changing the subject of the conflict
b. Restraining oneself from discussing the differences
c. Postponing the discussion
d. Just smiling on countering the issue
e. Withholding ones feelings to refrain from getting into an argument
3. Collaboration: Collaboration strategy is for the satisfaction of both the parties involved. The goal is to achieve a win-win situation. It is when both the parties agree to work a way out so that none of the parties are at loss and the mutual agreement is achieved. Ability to listen and understand other parties concern is a very major pre-requisite if the parties want to resolve the conflict through collaboration.
4. Compromise: Compromise calls for partial rather than a complete satisfaction of both the parties. It involves a give and take agreement where the parties involved find a middle way of reaching the solution to an argument by giving up something for getting something i.e. by doing compromise.
5. Competition: It is entirely a win-lose situation where one party wins and one looses. Competition is when the parties involved in the conflict wants to win at any cost, neglecting the wishes and feelings of other party. Competition should be the last resort in conflict resolution when no other strategy works out. It is detrimental for the healthy relationships between the two parties even in future.
Conflict is a normal part of life. The skill worth learning should be how to refrain our self from getting into a conflict or how to resolve the conflict in a win- win situation, if by any chance we came across conflict. For a win-win situation to take place, listening ability is really important. It is very much obvious that none of the parties involved in a conflict will ever like to understand the other party’s viewpoint. Therefore a learned man is the one who stops talking and starts listening when a conflict arises. Competition strategy in conflict is never a healthy resort. One should try to resolve it with accommodation, compromise or collaboration for the healthy relationship of the parties involved. Some points to be taken into consideration for resolving a conflict in a win-win situation are:
a. Getting into the root of the argument and making sure if the issue is worth fighting.
b. Listen more fight less. Sometimes listening and understanding the facts by one party helps in resolving the conflict escaping long never-ending arguments.
c. Always try to find a middle path for resolving the conflict instead of directly jumping into competition with each other.
d. Don’t call large crowd of people to assist you in your conflict resolution rather sort it out using your own conflict resolution skills. Third party interference for decision making is fine as long as it is resolving the conflict in a healthy manner.
e. Prioritize what is more important: the issue or the relationship with the other party, and then get into a serious argument. The consequences of the conflict can ruin your relationship forever with the other party involved.
f. Never choose violence as an alternative.
g. Take the help of a counselor, if required.
Conflict resolution is easy if we try to come across the solution through which both the parties are satisfied. One should know that getting into arguments with each other is a never- ending and a destructive exercise. Rather we should always try to find a solution from which we can constructively come out of the conflict, maintaining healthy relationships with the other person or group.