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Conflict occurs at all levels of interaction, at work, with families, among friends and between lovers.

It's a fact of life, and it isn't necessarily a bad issue. Offenses do come. In fact, a relationship with frequent conflicts may be healthier than one with no observable conflict which most times are silently kept in the dark room of anger in our hearts.

You should never be afraid to enter into a confrontation. So often, we want everyone to like us and  think we're a nice person. This obviously isn't possible.

Many compound this by adding a layer of self-righteous religiosity to the mix. They feel like it will be a sin to criticize a member of a team, even constructively, and thus smile and nod and accept less than desirable outcomes.

Yes, conflict can be a critical event in the course of a relationship. The relationship may be weakened or strengthened.

 However, whether a relationship is healthy or not doesn't depend so much on the number of conflicts between the participants, but on how the conflicts are resolved.

Thus, psychologists tell us that there are five basic strategies  for facing conflict.

In no particular order:

1) AVOIDING: At times, it is okay to avoid conflict or postpone a confrontation. Some altercations are unnecessary to dissect and discuss and will fade away or dissolve on their own without you being involved.

Just as the old saying goes, " You have to pick your battles". In other words, you must make sure that the confrontation is worth your time, and effort.

Let me provide you with an illustration: If you know a co-worker is leaving your department in a week or two, then it may not be the most effective investment to plan a meeting in order to discuss his failure to turn in his quarterly goals.

2) COMMANDING: Commanding or forcing your point of view in the midst of conflict may sound like an unpleasant, bossy, authoritarian style of resolving problems or issues.

But, sometimes, particularly in times of crisis, it may be necessary for someone to make a crucial decision even if it's unpopular.

Take for instance, when a rival company or agency is attempting a hostile takeover, there may not be time to hold a board meeting, follow protocol, and get the input of all stakeholders. This style provides a necessary option.

3) ACCOMMODATING:  In this method, the concern for the relationship is very high. One  party is willing to give a favorable outcome to the other party. In other words, giving in to their demands.

Accommodating in its real sense may sound positive unlike Commanding but could be detrimental if you're giving up items that you need to maintain.

On the other hand, if you can accommodate someone's request in a way that doesn't cost you very much, then by all means it's worth the goodwill engendered to acquiesce.

4) COMPROMISING: This is perhaps the most useful tool when dealing with conflict and making a confrontation. In this strategy, there's concern for outcome and relationship.

Compromising allows for both parties to receive part of the solution they requested, yet no one gets everything they wanted.

As basic as it may sound, the key to effective compromise is making sure you are comfortable  with the give-and-take inherent in the exchange.

The trade-off must be equitable and resolve the problem in a way that allows forward progress to be made by both  parties.

5) COLLABORATING: This is more or less win, win resolution. It is a mutual acceptable goal, with anticipated reward agreed upon by both sides.

This fifth style of handling confrontation allows for both parties to get everything they wanted in the situation.

In actuality, lots of conflicts could be resolved with simple collaboration; however, this often requires someone to apologize, or take responsibility, all of which may sound good and simple  in the mouth of a lovely aged grandma but are hard to practice at your Monday morning staff meeting.

Most people naturally gravitate toward one style based on their personality and past conditioning.

However, no  one style should be considered better than another; each one is beneficial in its own way and could be considered the best option depending on contextual circumstances.
All five of these strategies of facing conflict are very effective in the right situation. The key is to know your default style, the response you naturally gravitate toward perhaps without even noticing.

It's not that your default style is wrong or ineffective, only that it is limited. When you are aware of your tendencies to rely on it, you can then pause and consider the other four possible strategies.

You want to carry all five with you in your tool box. Sometimes you need a hammer and the other times a screwdriver.


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Ajayi Caleb
Hi, I'm Ajayi Caleb. I'm just a regular guy who loves impacting into lives as much as I can. With this boiling passion, I've decided to go to another level( which is to cut across borders). This therefore births the basis of the blog which is to present GROWTH to you, cutting across different spheres of life and thereby making you a better YOU. I BET YOU'D LOVE IT. Send all correspondence to :