Lifezone Training
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in Work Environment


April 2010 Edition

Conflict is rather an unfortunate reality of human nature where difference of opinion occur and result in uncomfortable environment.

When dealing with conflict in your relationship, it is important to distinguish the type of conflict you are experiencing, since not all conflicts are alike. There are 3 types of interpersonal conflict: Fake, Simple and Personalised Conflict.

1. Fake Conflict

Some conflict happens because of misunderstandings. Fake Conflict occurs when individuals really agree on issues but don’t understand that their differences are caused by misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

An honest discussion of the issue can often resolve the conflict situation. Fake Conflict can be deceptive because it feels the same as real conflict, and if it is not handled correctly, it can escalate into Personalised Conflict.
Fake Conflict is relatively easy to manage because in essence there is already agreement on the core issues. Both parties still have a large degree of control over the outcome and a win-win solution is promising.
To manage Fake Conflict you need to be able to:
• Develop a supportive rather than defensive environment.
• Express your ideas and feelings clearly.
• Listen accurately to your partner.
• Check the meaning behind the messages you are giving and receiving.
• Ensure your communication is clear before correcting the other person

2. Simple Conflict can be difficult to manage because the size and scope of the disagreement can easily begin to grow. Both parties may have to surrender an amount of control to reach a win-win solution.
To manage Simple Conflict, a problem solving approach should be employed. Both parties need to be willing to:
• Compromise or find alternatives.
• Discuss the issues calmly
• Use facts rather than opinions.
• Stay focused on your Purpose or solution.

3. Personalised Conflict
Personal Conflict happens when one or both parties become defensive in their position because they think they are being personally attacked. This type of conflict can be highly volatile because it is emotionally driven (by anger or frustration) and based on perceptions about someone’s character or motives.

When conflict becomes personal, the original issues are no longer the problem because the conflict has ceased to be rational and has now become personality-centered.

Personalised Conflict is very difficult to manage due to its subjective nature; quality ideas are often countered with an endless string of impromptu and subjective objections.

Both parties have to be willing to give up control over the other and take responsibility for their own actions to discover a win-win solution.

To manage Personalized Conflict you need to:
• Establish a safe and neutral environment where there is tolerance for personal disagreement.
• Cease creating personal attacks and aim to focus on problem
• Minimize personality differences that exist.
• Focus on discovering the real differences or issues, not those you imagine
• Finally conclude to agree that personal issues are put on the side whilst work is concerned
By understanding the type of conflict you are experiencing, you can manage it and get back on track with what is truly important: your mentoring relationship.

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