Having spent the most part of my professional life within food sector and baby food specifically, through the last several years, I’ve taken a new turn and have seriously rethought my current preferences. It’s now more in the direction of psychology that I invest my time and efforts. And in this field, client-centered psychotherapy of Karl Rogers is the closest to what I feel. It supports the belief of self-actualization as an inborn ability of each individual and lets one be the master of his/her own life, which I strongly support.
Traces of Carl + knowledge on emotional intelligence + realities of life have brought me to exploring another topic: conflict management, which I am currently highly interested in. To tell the truth, I like being in conflict. Definitely, out of 5 most common behavioral technics in conflict management, avoiding is not the one I use often. I often use conflict as a prerequisite for developing relationships, of course, if another party has at least a slight desire to stay in relations. Through avoiding it’s quite difficult to build anything. Remember, how a small kid learns to play hide-&-seek? Usually, by closing his eyes and ingeniously believing in his invisibility. Avoiding a conflict reminds me of that way of hiding. It may, of course, reach the target and situation would release by itself. Yet, for an active person, like me, it’s often a disaster to let some foreknowledge decide, I prefer taking an active position and at least presuppose, where the conflict would bring me rather than take what I get by a chance.
Another form of semi-passive conflict resolution, which is accommodating, is also not my favorite. Yet, I admit that it may simply pass by unnoticed, should the topic of a conflict be irrelevant for me, and whereas I give some minor things up subconsciously. I would not recommend accommodating in each and every conflict, especially, in those, which are important for you. Using it as an active strategy will definitely cause suppressed forms of stress and either depression or somatization as highly possible effects.
Should the relations with another party in conflict be unimportant for you, competing is a quite funny strategy to take. Purely mathematical, 100/0, it’s yet one of the most widely used. Thus, you might have already tried it either from the highly assertive personalities and I bet you did not feel quite well when losing. Otherwise, you were the one who won; if so, you definitely did not get what you really wanted in the long run. Winning at the cost of others adds up the feelings of guilt, light disappointment and shame on the side of cost, which one usually tries not to admit or addresses to some external factors. I would argue that even the psychopathic personalities or the ones, cut off the ability to be empathetic, would suffer (physically, emotionally or mentally) from the multiple successive wins in the competing strategy. Though, it is for sure quite effective in the short run.
Out of the top-two strategies for conflict management, compromising seems to be the safest. Each party would give up a small part and still get some of the desired outcome. Compromising is enjoyable, while you do not invest a lot of energy into the conflict process. Yet, is that so easy to decide, which part to give up? And are you always sure that the decision taken was correct? Hesitation as an action on the one hand, and discontent as an emotion, on the other.
No doubt that the most desirable conflict outcome is collaboration. Integration of ideas and creativity look perfect, aren’t they? To tell the truth, that’s also my favorite. However, time and effort commitment to such conflict resolution are not always worth the conflict outcome. I personally tend to utilize this strategy here and there. That’s the prerogative of all perfectionists)). The price one has to pay is exhaustion. Whenever you feel not enough inner resources, I would not recommend this strategy. Though, should you plan mastering conflicts and train the courage of entering a conflict or get the maximum positive after-conflict cocktail of feelings, you should aim for collaborating as the strategy.
Interesting enough? I now plan a series of trainings to get it further. Would love to hear input as to desirable directions.