Learn Better Conflict Management Techniques

conflict management techniques

What happens when there is conflict in a relationship? Most people handle conflicts very badly and as a result their marriages and other important relationships are jeopardized. Poor conflict management can lead to a build up of resentment between people that eventually may cause a complete breakdown of trust.

Learning how to avoid such scenarios is extremely important. At Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, London UK, - the church that birthed the Alpha Course, a new marriage guidance course has been developed which is airing on Revelation TV as The Marriage Programme. The skills learned during this series can be transferred to any relationship with beneficial results.

Why do we Need Better Conflict Management Skills?

The results of poor conflict management are potentially serious:
  • Over time, angry feelings that are suppressed will ferment and get bigger.
  • Resentment grows and eventually may be the cause of relationship breakdown
  • Carrying anger and resentment hinders personal growth
  • Carrying anger and resentment over an extended period of time can cause both physical and mental illness

How to Improve Your Conflict Management Skills

There are two "types" of faulty conflict management behaviors:
Rhinos are reputed to have a very short fuse which is what makes them a most dangerous animal. The human "Rhino" is a person who feels angry and has to express that anger suddenly and sometimes explosively.

The hedgehog is a shy creature who, at the first sign of danger, will roll up into a prickly ball. The human version of the hedgehog handles conflict by keeping their anger and resentment inside. Unable to communicate their feelings through fear of conflict, they become prickly and defensive.

Both of these reactions are counter productive to harmonious relationships.

Top Tips for Improving Conflict Management Skills

  1. Firstly, recognize which conflict management type you are - rhino or hedgehog
  2. If working with your spouse or colleague, ask them to do the same
  3. As soon as anger arises, identify the root feelings and express these feeling clearly and calmly to the other person
  4. Be open and honest; suppressing feelings is part of the problem
  5. Do not be judgmental or critical - simply explain in a calm way what your feelings are at that point in time
  6. Apologize if one is in the wrong. An apology is a speedy way of diffusing anger in another person and is appropriate if one is at fault. Being genuinely sorry is the first stage in rebuilding trust.
  7. Learn how to forgive. Forgiveness is a mental decision - the pain may remain and can be dealt with later.

Apologizing is an important part of the above sequence of events. Often pride stops people from being able to say "sorry", and yet if one can get over that barrier, the rewards in terms of better relationships and saved marriages can be enormous. Learning how to listen effectively to what the other party is saying is another important skill in managing conflict more effectively.

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