The Trouble with Avoiding Conflict
When we ask people how they generally deal with conflict, they almost always that they tend to avoid it. This is not surprising because most
A first step is to understand why we avoid. As was mentioned our attitudes
When people are concerned about the emotional aspects of conflict, we encourage them to reflect further on it. What aspects of conflict upset
When fear causes avoidance, we recommend Tim Ursiny’s book, The Coward’s Guide to Conflict: Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run Than Fight. In it Tim provides some excellent approaches to overcoming fears (often irrational) that can arise in conflicts. Another helpful guide to overcoming the tendency to avoid conflict is Managing Conflict Dynamics: A Practical Guide available from the Center for Conflict Dynamics.
It is understandable that people sometimes avoid conflict because they do not
So it a person wants to change their approach and stop avoiding conflict, what can they do? How can you engage effectively with the other person? We recommend behaviors described in the Conflict Dynamics Profile as active constructive responses. These include Reaching Out, Perspective
Reaching Out provides a way of getting communications restarted. It is
Perspective Taking focuses on trying to understand the other person’s viewpoint on the conflict. It involves listening carefully and trying to truly understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
Expressing Emotions includes sharing your thoughts and feelings about the conflict with the other person. It is an authentic expression of how you view the conflict and involves open, honest discussion of how you see the conflict.
Creating Solutions concerns working together with the other person to discover collaborative solutions to your joint problem. It helps turn adversarial exchanges into mutual problem solving.
These behaviors help improve engagement. They also involve risk and
There are times though when avoiding still makes sense. When there