COPING WITH CONFLICT
The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them. — Thomas Crum
What is a Conflict?
A conflict is a serious disagreement or argument, usually protracted. It could be at workplace or with family and friends Conflict is a form of friction, discord, or disagreement arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more group members are either resisted or unacceptable to one or more members of another group.
Types of Conflicts:
- Interpersonal conflicts: It refers to a conflict between two individuals. This usually happens because of how different people are from each other. We have different personalities, which usually leads to incompatible choices and opinions. Apparently, this is a natural phenomenon that can ultimately help in your personal growth or the development of your relationships with others. In addition, it is necessary to come up with adjustments to handle this type of conflict.
- Intrapersonal conflicts: It occurs within the individual. Experience takes place in a person’s mind. It is therefore a type of psychological conflict involving an individual’s thoughts, values, principles and emotions. Interpersonal conflicts can come at a variety of scales, from the more mundane, such as deciding whether to have Chinese food for dinner, to those that can affect major decisions, such as choosing a career path. Additionally, this type of conflict can be quite difficult to manage if you find it difficult to decipher your inner struggles. It leads to restlessness and restlessness, or can even cause depression. In such situations, it would be best to try to get rid of anxiety through communication with other people. Ultimately, being outside of the situation can empower you more as a person. So the experience brought about a positive change that will help you in your personal growth.
- Conflict within the group: It is a type of conflict that takes place between individuals in a team. Incompatibilities and misunderstandings between these individuals lead to conflict within the group. It arises from interpersonal disagreements (e.g. team members have different personalities that can lead to tension) or from differences in opinions and ideas (e.g. in presentation. Team members may consider the ideas presented by the chairperson to be wrong because of their differing opinions) . Within a team, conflict can help make decisions that ultimately allow them to achieve their goals as a team.
- Intergroup Conflict: It occurs when there is a misunderstanding between different teams within an organization. For example, the sales department of an organization may come into conflict with the customer support department. This is due to the different sets of goals and interests of these different groups. In addition, competition also contributes to the emergence of intergroup conflicts. There are other factors that promote this type of conflict. Some of these factors may include rivalries for resources or boundaries set by the group against others, creating their own identity as a team.
Unresolved conflicts in general:
Unresolved conflict in workplace:
- Loss of productivity: Workplace conflict in several cases depletes worker productivity. Unresolved conflict in the workplace can also lead to higher absenteeism, errors and worker burnout. The energy employees spend focusing on their conflicts is also the energy they don’t spend getting their work done. If the problem persists, general morale and productivity can be affected as other employees become fatigued from the tension.
- Passive aggressive behavior: People who have never learned how to deal with conflict effectively can fall into passive aggressive behavior that can fuel anger and frustration. Passive-aggressive workplace behaviors such as tardiness, backbiting, inefficient work, forgetting to inform a colleague of news, and cutting someone out of the loop can harm the performance of other valued employees.
- Lost employees: When tensions build or persist for too long, many employees consider leaving the job, and some do, perhaps leaving a departing employee in need of work, always leaving the employer to find and train a qualified replacement.
Unresolved conflict in Families:
Difficult family relationships can take many forms. Maybe you have an overly critical father who makes you feel anxious. Perhaps sibling jealousy is a constant source of tension in family functions. Or maybe you believe that controlling your new father-in-law leads to unnecessary drama.
- Start blaming yourself for these bad relationships.
- Experience the fear and anxiety of family or holiday events.
- Suffering from a lack of emotional or financial support during difficult times.
- Develop problems sleeping or concentrating due to the stress of these interactions.
- Research even shows that poor relationships with parents, siblings, or spouses can contribute to symptoms of midlife depression.
- Exposure to domestic conflict can also have a long-term impact on a child’s well-being. One longitudinal study found that domestic arguments and violence can increase a child’s risk of developing mental and physical health problems later in life.
Healthy ways of dealing with conflict (workplace):
- Accommodation: This is a win/lose situation. An accommodation approach is generally used when one party is willing to forfeit position. It is best used in situations where: One side wants to indicate some degree of justice. People want to encourage others to express their own opinion.
- Compromise: This is a win/lose — win/lose situation, i.e. everyone involved wins and loses through negotiation and flexibility. Every will to gain something of what he desires and to give something up at the same time. The main goal of this approach is to find common ground and maintain a relationship.
- Avoidance: This is a lose/lose situation. Neither side will take steps to solve the problems associated with the conflict, which means it will remain unresolved. This approach is best used: If everyone involved believes that this is a minor issue and will be resolved in a timely manner without any fuss. When the parties need a chance to cool off and spend time apart. If other people are able to resolve the conflict more effectively than the parties involved.
- Competition: This is a win/lose situation. One side tries to win the conflict through dominance and power. This approach is the best used: When all other methods have been tried (and failed). In emergency situations where quick, immediate and decisive action is required. In situations where unpopular changes need to be implemented and discussion is not appropriate.
- Cooperation: This is a win/win. It is the most efficient but most difficult way of managing differences. It requires trust and a commitment by all parties to reach a solution by getting to the heart of the problem. All parties must be willing empathize and try to understand each other’s situation. Cooperation is most suitable: When all parties are willing to jointly explore alternative solutions that may not have occurred to them of their own.
Healthy ways of dealing with conflict (Family):
- Put things in writing: If you expect someone from your family to repay you, for example, a personal loan, make a written agreement between you.
- Set boundaries for yourself: If a family member pressures you to lend or give them money, or wants to dictate your finances, it’s important to be clear about what type of behavior you won’t tolerate. Be clear so your family member knows when they’ve crossed a line.
- Know when to be transparent: You don’t have to share all your financial information with anyone. But in cases where your decisions may affect your family members, it is best to be transparent. You may want to talk to your children about the details of their inheritance to avoid future conflict, for example, or to let your siblings know why you can’t contribute to joint expenses. If you keep your feelings to yourself, resentment can build and increase tension.
- Look for compromises and accept other people’s limitations: If your sibling cannot physically help with the care, they may be able to offer you financial assistance. Be sure to show your appreciation when your sibling takes responsibility.
- Expect differences: Different families have different expectations, boundaries and ways of doing things. Do you see your daughter-in-law as a tactless or even rude family member? Perhaps he comes from a family environment that encourages bluntness or tolerates teasing.
- Focus on their most positive qualities: If you find it hard to see their flaws, try making a list of their strengths.
- Find common interests: While it’s not always easy, you can usually find common interests if you look hard enough.
Over time, people’s behavior and circumstances can change. So know that breaking ties is not necessarily permanent. If you see evidence that your family member is truly willing to make amends, there may be a chance for reconciliation.
However, do not rush to reconcile. Both of you should accept that this process may take time and requires concrete steps to improve the relationship. With a combination of patience and better communication, you may be able to mend this broken bond and move forward with a healthier relationship.
- Mufina, MHP, M.S.C.P., D.M.H., Psychologist, Mental Health Counsellor, Chennai, TN, India.