Content and relationship conflict scenarios

Interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution - Fellowship for Intentional Community

content and relationship conflict scenarios

Conflict Resolution Scenarios – Interpersonal Studies. Can't We All Just Get Along? Conflict Resolution Strategies. Copyright © Texas Education Agency, So are any of us surprised that it's easier for us to shy away from conflict than to I know to create deeper intimacy and connection in your romantic relationship. Wikis > Interpersonal relationships and conflict resolution Contents. 1 Getting to know yourself; 2 Getting to know each other; 3 Working with personality style.

The discussion goes on and on about how people feel about a particular issue and Task Oriented Mary is getting more and more frustrated. Finally she blows up at the facilitator for wasting so much of the meeting time on this one discussion about feelings. She stomps out of the room in a huff.

Conflict Scenario 1

Another day, another group meeting. This time the agenda item is full of numbers and lists and complex papers about some development aspect. Process Oriented Mary is detached and uninvolved.

Although she has opinions, she is feeling alienated by the whole depersonalization of the issues. At the break she leaves. One of the best ways for style angst to be worked out in a meeting is for the individuals to be allowed to state what they are feeling and what they want.

For example, in the problem with Task-Oriented Mary, she could have asked the group for help by saying something like: Can we move to the proposal stage soon, or may I be excused until you finish your discussion? Some larger groups use a system of colored cards where different colors represent different types of input. In extreme cases, task oriented people will have difficulty asking for what they want and the facilitator needs to watch for angst from the task oriented people and then intervene on their behalf.

Recognizing your personality style and the needs and limitations it places you under is a key step in understanding how to work with a group. Both task and process styles have important contributions to make and you have to be patient and recognize the value of styles that are different from yours. You will be annoyed with your style opposite sometimes, so use that annoyance constructively to make changes in the process that benefit the group.

content and relationship conflict scenarios

If you are a task oriented person, you can help the group get organized and working on results. Your skills at seeing the bottom line can help the group when you summarize information, add facts, or urge the group towards concrete proposals. If you are a process oriented person you offer the skills of building relationships and understandings so that proposals can be made that get accepted and implemented with a high degree of spirit. You can work to keep the morale of the group high by offering personal support and acknowledgment of peoples work.

Groups often go through cycles where task or process gets emphasis in the groups activities. There may be a period where you make many decisions, hard and fast, and work with lots of information, get lots of details accomplished and then get somewhat paralyzed by what may seem to be a minor side issue. The group then focuses on process work, working through the issue, hearing emotional side issues, talking with each other and building up communication bridges and processes.

Over time, most experienced and successful groups learn to balance the task and process parts of their activities so each works to complement the other. As meeting skills grow in the group, the facilitator can capture emotional issues that get raised as part of a task agenda and skillfully roll them into the task processing so the end result is the optimum for everyone.

When you can balance both the task wing and the process wing so they work together, your group will fly as high as it can go. One technique that can bring this out is to do a feeling circle, in which everyone in the group expresses how they are feeling. For this to work some ground rules are needed: Only one person speaks at a time around the circle.

No defensive reactions are allowed in the circle. The goals of the feelings circle should be written down and placed where everyone can see them. I am here to learn about my neighbors and myself. I will listen carefully with an open heart to what you have to say about me. I will speak for myself only, and speak the truth as I see it. The way feeling circles work is for members to simply state whatever is on their mind.

For example, a member might say: For this kind of sharing to work it is important that the circle not be interrupted by defensive answers, but that each person is allowed to speak without interruption. Participants have to be free to express feelings without immediate reaction. If this becomes part of the meeting routine, even very shy individuals may come to express themselves. Sometimes feeling circles can be focused on a specific issue.

content and relationship conflict scenarios

They can be a way of dealing with a particular issue, a conflict between individuals, an individual behavior, or even as a healing source for someone who loses a family member or has some other personal crisis.

Or they can be general in nature, focusing on getting to know one anothers histories by responding to set questions such as: A story from my childhood, people that are important to me, lessons in life I have learned and who taught them, the most important thing I ever did, the most dangerous moment in my life. These kinds of sharing circles allow people to learn about each other in new ways. Active listening Active listening is a skill which enhances communication.

In active listening you listen carefully, then paraphrase back what you heard, with the goal of supporting and drawing out the feelings of the speaker. When this is done well it validates a persons feelings and encourages him or her to fully communicate. The goal of active listening is to help clarify the feelings and thinking behind the words. When active listening is applied it creates a supportive bond between the speaker and the listener. Because there is no threat of criticism or judgment, the speaker is encouraged to express feelings honestly.

The important thing about active listening is that it is not intended to change or alter the feelings of the speaker, only to support them in expressing their feelings. When you try and advise or change the message the speaker gives, it forces them to defend themselves, which often causes further denial of the feelings and experiences.

When the listener responds by trying to change the speakers way of looking at things, to see the situation from the listeners perspective, the listener is trying to divert the communication down the path to meet their needs, not the speakers. One of the special difficulties in active listening is when the listener is called on for decisions, judgments or evaluations. Often what the speaker is doing in this situation is try to pass the buck, and disguise or mask the expression of feelings.

In active listening it is best to try to identify the emotional context of the question and leave an opening for the speaker to say what is really bothering him. For example Jim, a teenager doing childcare comes to the meeting looking upset and says: Why did I ever sign up for childcare, this is impossible! An active listening response would be something like: You sound pretty frustrated.

Often this encourages the speaker to continue. Again the listener paraphrases what the speaker has said in order to encourage the dialog. I just walked away I was so mad. I guess I should go back and see if I can work it out. Being in charge is hard sometimes. The listener must look for and respond to feelings. Not all of a message is in the words so non-verbal clues can help the listener be aware of the speakers feelings.

The goal of this type of triangulation is to degrade the person not present. This kind of malicious gossip can occur very easily and spontaneously, you may not even realize what it has done until you analyze why you feel a certain way towards someone, or how you ever got such a wrong notion about someone.

content and relationship conflict scenarios

Malicious triangulation is very dysfunctional behavior and is one of the worse things that can happen in a community. Malicious gossip and character assassination undermine relationships in a huge way. They poison peoples perspectives of each other, fill voids of understanding with misinformation and deceit, and create an atmosphere of distrust, disrespect and paranoia.

Now sometimes, to help your own understanding of people and their conflicts you need to get and share information about people who are not present. This is healthy and normal and there is an easy test to distinguish between what is healthy and helpful and what is unhealthy and destructive. When the topic of someone who is not present comes up, imagine that the person of whom you are speaking or hearing about is standing behind you.

If what you say, or hear would make that person angry, defensive, or unhappy you are engaged in an unhealthy triangulation. If you go along with triangulation and character assassination, you become an accomplice to dysfunctional behavior that is very destructive to relationships.

Relationships are the foundation of community. People who gossip to you, in turn, will gossip about you. Resolving Conflicts Conflicts and miscommunications occur. They are part of life. Not everyone thinks, acts or responds in the same way and members come under stress at different times which causes differences in tolerance and patience. Not everyone has the same level of commitment, honesty, or even integrity. It is important to define a process that resolves problems and encourages members to talk about the issues under conflict in a controlled and reasonable way, even if those issues are intensely personal.

Many people are conditioned to avoid conflict at any cost, that conflict is bad, a failure. Overcoming this tendency to avoid conflict is hard and conflict resolution training is a good first step. Conflict is healthy and a normal part of any human relationship. One of the most important elements of all the successful intentional communities is a clearly defined process for dealing with group and personal conflicts.

Vegetarian versus meat eater can be such a conflict within a community. If you ignore conflicts between individuals, it is common to find these conflicts coming into meetings as hidden agendas. In some communities interpersonal conflicts are expected to be resolved by the individuals, not the group.

Some communities have the whole group take responsibility for conflict resolution between members. Figure out a strategy for who is responsible for interpersonal conflict resolution and set some community ground rules.

Interpersonal conflicts often start out as poor communication. The more frank and open you are while communicating, the less conflict and less severe conflict will exist. Sometimes meetings become really intense, and negotiations and discussions become counterproductive. The whole meeting environment becomes too emotionally charged to reach a solution. Conflicts can be emotionally draining, and meetings dealing with conflict can leave you feeling wrung out and exhausted.

Group conflict resolution is a very demanding process and sometimes you are not up to it. Under these conditions is it often best for the facilitator to break the meeting or adjourn to another time with perhaps a homework assignment for each individual to brainstorm all the pros and cons of the issue to bring back to the next meeting. Common conflict issues Kids and dogs are two of the most conflict rife issues any community deals with.

Another big issue is personal behaviors which have a negative impact on others, such as an individual who frequently uses a loud and angry voice which intimidates other members. Other issues often causing conflict include gun ownership, private use of common areas, clothing optional facilities, hidden sexual agendas, bad cooks, parking — specifically drive up parking, house location selection, how to add common amenities that not everyone will use. Personality styles often lead to clashes, especially between task oriented and process oriented styles.

Interpersonal conflict occurs in interactions where there are real or perceived incompatible goals, scarce resources, or opposing viewpoints. Interpersonal conflict may be expressed verbally or nonverbally along a continuum ranging from a nearly imperceptible cold shoulder to a very obvious blowout.

Interpersonal conflict is, however, distinct from interpersonal violence, which goes beyond communication to include abuse. Conflict is an inevitable part of close relationships and can take a negative emotional toll.

It takes effort to ignore someone or be passive aggressive, and the anger or guilt we may feel after blowing up at someone are valid negative feelings. In fact, numerous research studies have shown that quantity of conflict in a relationship is not as important as how the conflict is handled Markman et al. Improving your competence in dealing with conflict can yield positive effects in the real world.

Since conflict is present in our personal and professional lives, the ability to manage conflict and negotiate desirable outcomes can help us be more successful at both. Whether you and your partner are trying to decide what brand of flat-screen television to buy or discussing the upcoming political election with your mother, the potential for conflict is present.

In professional settings, the ability to engage in conflict management, sometimes called conflict resolution, is a necessary and valued skill. However, many professionals do not receive training in conflict management even though they are expected to do it as part of their job Gates, When Michael, the manager, finds out there is unresolved conflict, he makes the anonymous complaints public in an attempt to encourage resolution, which backfires, creating more conflict within the office. In fact, being a mediator was named one of the best careers for by U.

News and World Report. Being able to manage conflict situations can make life more pleasant rather than letting a situation stagnate or escalate. The negative effects of poorly handled conflict could range from an awkward last few weeks of the semester with a college roommate to violence or divorce.

However, there is no absolute right or wrong way to handle a conflict. Rather, a competent communicator assesses multiple contexts and applies or adapts communication tools and skills to fit the dynamic situation. Conflict Management Styles Would you describe yourself as someone who prefers to avoid conflict? Do you like to get your way? Are you good at working with someone to reach a solution that is mutually beneficial? Odds are that you have been in situations where you could answer yes to each of these questions, which underscores the important role context plays in conflict and conflict management styles in particular.

The way we view and deal with conflict is learned and contextual. Is the way you handle conflicts similar to the way your parents handle conflict? Research does show that there is intergenerational transmission of traits related to conflict management. As children, we test out different conflict resolution styles we observe in our families with our parents and siblings. There has been much research done on different types of conflict management styles, which are communication strategies that attempt to avoid, address, or resolve a conflict.

We may instead be caught up in emotion and become reactionary. The strategies for more effectively managing conflict that will be discussed later may allow you to slow down the reaction process, become more aware of it, and intervene in the process to improve your communication. A powerful tool to mitigate conflict is information exchange. Asking for more information before you react to a conflict-triggering event is a good way to add a buffer between the trigger and your reaction.

Another key element is whether or not a communicator is oriented toward self-centered or other-centered goals. In general, strategies that facilitate information exchange and include concern for mutual goals will be more successful at managing conflict Sillars, The five strategies for managing conflict we will discuss are competing, avoiding, accommodating, compromising, and collaborating.

Each of these conflict styles accounts for the concern we place on self versus other see Figure 6. In order to better understand the elements of the five styles of conflict management, we will apply each to the follow scenario. Competing The competing style indicates a high concern for self and a low concern for other. One way we may gauge our win is by being granted or taking concessions from the other person.

The competing style also involves the use of power, which can be noncoercive or coercive Sillars, Noncoercive strategies include requesting and persuading. When requesting, we suggest the conflict partner change a behavior. When we persuade, however, we give our conflict partner reasons to support our request or suggestion, meaning there is more information exchange, which may make persuading more effective than requesting. Interpersonal conflict is rarely isolated, meaning there can be ripple effects that connect the current conflict to previous and future conflicts.

Competing has been linked to aggression, although the two are not always paired.


If assertiveness does not work, there is a chance it could escalate to hostility. There is a pattern of verbal escalation: Aggressive communication can become patterned, which can create a volatile and hostile environment.

The reality television show The Bad Girls Club is a prime example of a chronically hostile and aggressive environment. If you do a Google video search for clips from the show, you will see yelling, screaming, verbal threats, and some examples of physical violence. The competing style of conflict management is not the same thing as having a competitive personality. Avoiding The avoiding style of conflict management often indicates a low concern for self and a low concern for other, and no direct communication about the conflict takes place.

However, as we will discuss later, in some cultures that emphasize group harmony over individual interests, and even in some situations in the United States, avoiding a conflict can indicate a high level of concern for the other. Remember, you cannot not communicate. Even when we try to avoid conflict, we may intentionally or unintentionally give our feelings away through our verbal and nonverbal communication. The avoiding style is either passive or indirect, meaning there is little information exchange, which may make this strategy less effective than others.

We may decide to avoid conflict for many different reasons, some of which are better than others. If you view the conflict as having little importance to you, it may be better to ignore it.

If you are not emotionally invested in the conflict, you may be able to reframe your perspective and see the situation in a different way, therefore resolving the issue. For example, avoidance could first manifest as changing the subject, then progress from avoiding the issue to avoiding the person altogether, to even ending the relationship.

Indirect strategies of hinting and joking also fall under the avoiding style. While these indirect avoidance strategies may lead to a buildup of frustration or even anger, they allow us to vent a little of our built-up steam and may make a conflict situation more bearable.

When we hint, we drop clues that we hope our partner will find and piece together to see the problem and hopefully change, thereby solving the problem without any direct communication. Passive-aggressive behavior is a way of dealing with conflict in which one person indirectly communicates their negative thoughts or feelings through nonverbal behaviors, such as not completing a task.

Although passive-aggressive behavior can feel rewarding in the moment, it is one of the most unproductive ways to deal with conflict. These behaviors may create additional conflicts and may lead to a cycle of passive-aggressiveness in which the other partner begins to exhibit these behaviors as well, while never actually addressing the conflict that originated the behavior. In most avoidance situations, both parties lose. However, as noted above, avoidance can be the most appropriate strategy in some situations—for example, when the conflict is temporary, when the stakes are low or there is little personal investment, or when there is the potential for violence or retaliation.

content and relationship conflict scenarios

Accommodating The accommodating conflict management style indicates a low concern for self and a high concern for other and is often viewed as passive or submissive, in that someone complies with or obliges another without providing personal input.

The context for and motivation behind accommodating play an important role in whether or not it is an appropriate strategy. Generally, we accommodate because we are being generous, we are obeying, or we are yielding Bobot, As with avoiding, there are certain cultural influences we will discuss later that make accommodating a more effective strategy.

In essence, when we compromise, we give up some or most of what we want.

Conflict Resolution

Compromising may be a good strategy when there are time limitations or when prolonging a conflict may lead to relationship deterioration. Compromising may help conflicting parties come to a resolution, but neither may be completely satisfied if they each had to give something up. A negative of compromising is that it may be used as an easy way out of a conflict. The compromising style is most effective when both parties find the solution agreeable.

They are both giving up something, and if neither of them have a problem with taking their lunch to work, then the compromise was equitable. Collaborating The collaborating style involves a high degree of concern for self and other and usually indicates investment in the conflict situation and the relationship. The obvious advantage is that both parties are satisfied, which could lead to positive problem solving in the future and strengthen the overall relationship.

The disadvantage is that this style is often time consuming, and only one person may be willing to use this approach while the other person is eager to compete to meet their goals or willing to accommodate. Do not view the conflict as a contest you are trying to win. Remain flexible and realize there are solutions yet to be discovered.

Conflict Resolution |

Identify areas of common ground or shared interests that you can work from to develop solutions. Ask questions to allow them to clarify and to help you understand their perspective.

Listen carefully and provide verbal and nonverbal feedback. While having a roommate offers many benefits such as making a new friend, having someone to experience a new situation like college life with, and having someone to split the cost on your own with, there are also challenges. Some common roommate conflicts involve neatness, noise, having guests, sharing possessions, value conflicts, money conflicts, and personality conflicts Ball State University, Read the following scenarios and answer the following questions for each one: Which conflict management style, from the five discussed, would you use in this situation?

What are the potential strengths of using this style? What are the potential weaknesses of using this style? Your college dorm has bunk beds, and your roommate takes a lot of time making his bed the bottom bunk each morning.

While he is away for the weekend, your friend comes to visit and sits on the bottom bunk bed. You tell him what your roommate said, and you try to fix the bed back before he returns to the dorm. When he returns, he notices that his bed has been disturbed and he confronts you about it.

Noise and having guests. Your roommate has a job waiting tables and gets home around midnight on Thursday nights. She often brings a couple friends from work home with her. They watch television, listen to music, or play video games and talk and laugh.

You have an 8 a. Last Friday, you talked to her and asked her to keep it down in the future. When you go out to eat, you often bring back leftovers to have for lunch the next day during your short break between classes. Your roommate got mono and missed two weeks of work last month. Since he has a steady job and you have some savings, you cover his portion of the rent and agree that he will pay your portion next month. The next month comes around and he informs you that he only has enough to pay his half.

Value and personality conflicts. You like to go out to clubs and parties and have friends over, but your roommate is much more of an introvert.