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The Other Side of Conflict – There is a Light

Conflict is inevitably a way of life. While it may cause pain and hurt, or even suffering, without conflict the world would be Conflict photomundane, everyone would agree, there would be no fighting, etc.  Sounds wonderful, right? Think again.  If the world were conflict-free, I would not need to write this blog, there would be no Texas Conflict Coach®, and the conflict resolution field would be nonexistent.   Did you know conflict can bring understanding? You see, not all conflict is considered negative and destructive.  Although most of us think that we would enjoy a conflict-free world, it is not beneficial to the progression of our daily lives.  Conflict can lead us to appreciate another person’s point of view, brainstorm ideas with one another, engage in much needed conversations, etc.

Conflict can occur anywhere at any time.  One can encounter conflict at home with their spouse or kids, at work with colleagues, or standing in line at the grocery store.  It is not until recently that I learned how to transform conflict into a positive experience that can benefit all parities involved.  Conflict during work has allowed us to think differently and creatively (why do you think corporations encourage team work).  Conflict with my spouse has allowed us to reevaluate situations and as a result create better outcomes.

To turn a conflicting situation into a positive experience, I would suggest following these simple strategies:

  • Let the other person talk first: hear the full story before interjecting
  • Put yourself in that person’s shoes: understand their point of view
  • Take responsibility: own your role in the conflict (and yes, you have played a role)
  • Remain calm: keep a positive or neutral attitude

Did you know– It is important for both sides to voice their opinions during a conflicting situation?  You see, fighting (nonviolently, of course) allows for an exchange of feelings, thoughts, and needs between the individuals or groups involved.  It is okay to become irritated during a conflicting situation but one must not let the irritation interfere with the goal of resolving the difference.  Karmit Bulman said it best in her program entitled: Conflict Talk – A Road Map for How to Get to the Table: “If you solve the other person’s problem you can solve your own”. Are you up to the challenge?

By Yvette Watson Jenkins

Graduate Student, University of Baltimore – Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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Conflict Talk – A Road Map for How to Get to the Table

Karmit BulmanWhy is there so much unresolved and destructive conflict? Why is it so hard for you to come to the table to talk about the conflict you have with someone? Karmit Bulman, Executive Director, The Conflict Resolution Center in Minnesota and the author of The Conflict Resolution Process: A Consultant’s Handbook will help us understand what happens to us in our brains that builds a barrier to these uncomfortable situations. Through her story-telling, Karmit will share examples and educate you about a method she developed to work one-on-one with individuals. This 3-part road map is also a guide for skill-building and action planning. With this in mind, Karmit will share her top 3 tips to immediately use in dealing with your situation.

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