Conflict Resolution Finding an вЂњElegant SolutionвЂќ from People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts Robert Bolton, Ph.D. вЂњWhenever youвЂ™re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.вЂќ William James What is your attitude about conflict? вЂў Conflict is difficult, uncomfortableвЂ”I would like to avoid it as much as possible. вЂў Conflict is difficult, but if it happens I want to be in control so that the outcome works for me. вЂў Conflict is an opportunityвЂ”for better relationships at work and homeвЂ”and for personal growth Three Approaches to Relationships вЂў Passive вЂў Aggressive вЂў Assertive Handling the Emotional Components of Conflict вЂў Step 1вЂ”Do a personal inventory вЂў Step 2вЂ”Treat the other person with respect вЂў Step 3вЂ”Listen until you experience the other side вЂў Step 4вЂ”State your views, needs, and feelings Basic Communication Tools вЂў Listening skills вЂў Assertion skills вЂў Collaborative problem-solving skills Listening Skills вЂў Attending skills вЂў Following skills вЂў Reflecting skills вЂњIвЂќ Statements вЂў Your feelings about a behavior, вЂў the effect is has on you вЂў what you would prefer the other person to do вЂњThe Elegant Solution: Collaborative Problem SolvingвЂќ вЂў Win/Win way of dealing with conflicting needs вЂў Alternatives to collaborative problem solving вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂ“ Denial Avoidance Capitulation Domination CompromiseвЂ”IвЂ™ll meet you part way Step 1: Define the problem in terms of needs, not solutions вЂў Discover the why вЂў Discover the why and you understand the need вЂў Solution-type definitions lead to win/win results. Step 2: Brainstorm possible solutions вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў Try for quantity, not quality DonвЂ™t evaluate DonвЂ™t clarify or seek clarification Go for zany ideas Expand on each otherвЂ™s ideas List every idea Avoid attaching peopleвЂ™s names to the ideas вЂў Keep an open mind Step 3: Select the solution that will best meet both parties needs вЂў Ask the other what proposed alternatives he or she would favor in the solution of the problem вЂў State which alternatives look best to you вЂў See which choices coincide вЂў Jointly decide on one or more of the alternatives вЂў Be sure the other person is satisfied with the solution Step 4: Plan who will do what, where and by when вЂў Decide who will carry out each part of the solution вЂў May need to decide the вЂњhowвЂќ as well the вЂњwhatвЂќ вЂў Set a time to meet again Step 5: Implement the Plan вЂў This is the point of action вЂў People separate and carry out their agreed-upon actions вЂў If one does not live up to the agreed-upon actions, use assertion message followed by reflective listening Step 6: Evaluate the problem-solving process and how well the solution turned out вЂў How the parties feel about the process they just went through вЂў What each liked most/least about process вЂў What each can do better next time Case Study #1 The Case of the Home BuyersвЂ™ Blues вЂў You and your significant other are stuck in a disagreement over whether or not to buy a house at this time. You would like to wait until you have saved 20% of the sale price for the down payment to be able to obtain a fixed rate mortgage and reduce the monthly payments. Your significant other would like to buy now with a variable rate mortgage, believing that interest rates will be on the rise soon and that your salaries will keep up with whatever amount the monthly payments are. Neither side seems willing to budge. Case Study #2вЂ” The Case of the ColleaguesвЂ™ Little Black Books вЂў Your department needs to create an вЂњon-callвЂќ schedule for emergency response. Some members of your group would like to create a schedule where each person rotates days of the week; others would like to be on-call for a week at a time. The discussion has become lively, and there doesnвЂ™t seem to be a way to come to consensus. Case Study #3вЂ” The Case of the AdministratorвЂ™s Angst вЂў Two faculty members from your division want to teach the same section of a course in their department. The chair has asked them to work out the conflict, but they have been unable to resolve the problem and the conflict has created tension within the department. Their chair has asked you to help the faculty members collaborate on a solution because they all respect your ability to problem solve. Each individual has legitimate reasons for wanting to teach that particular section, and each is qualified to teach the course. Case Study #4вЂ” The Sandwiched Woman Mystery вЂў You have an elderly mother in a city about 5 hours away. Her health has been declining in the last several years and, while she is still able to live independently, she needs a lot of support in terms of transportation, shopping, etc. You have a sibling that lives in the same town as your mother and is starting to become resentful and angry toward you because she provides this support for your mother. Your brother lives in the same town and is willing to help out but seems to rely on your sister to organize and arrange whatever your mother needs. You all have jobs and families of your own. You are feeling guilty, angry and helpless about the situation. What barriers do you bring to the table? Barriers to Communication вЂў Judging вЂ“ Criticizing вЂ“ Name-calling вЂ“ Diagnosing вЂ“ Praising Evaluativly Barriers to Communication вЂў Sending Solutions вЂ“ Ordering вЂ“ Threatening вЂ“ Moralizing вЂ“ Excessive/Inappropriat e Questioning вЂ“ Advising Barriers to Communication вЂў Avoiding the OtherвЂ™s Concerns вЂ“ Diverting вЂ“ Logical Argument вЂ“ Reassuring Where do you go from here? вЂў What is one thing I can do to become a better collaborative problem-solver? вЂў How can I go about doing that? вЂў When will I check my progress? вЂў How will I know if I have made progress?