Conflict Management: Staying In Control During A Confrontation

Conflict Management: Staying In Control During A Confrontation
Carly Jacobs

I always find it really funny when people say ‘I hate confrontation!’

Excluding psychopaths, does anyone like confrontation? I could very happily go for the rest of my life and never have another confrontation. I love a good debate but I prefer it be about the sexiness of Benedict Cumberbatch or how pineapple has no place on a pizza. Serious conflict about things like money, the behaviour of other people or work place arguments can get stuffed. Not into that at all.

conflict management

Unfortunately they’re unavoidable. Well technically you can avoid them but it’s not advisable. When people ignore issues, they only get worse. I’ve had countless incidences in the past where insignificant issues have snowballed into massive mountains and could have been avoided in the first place if the people involved just talked about it.

It’s never fun to have an argument but they’re bound to happen. Here are some tips for successfully managing conflict…

1. Admit when you’re wrong 

Full admission here: I hate getting into trouble. I’m very good at following rules so when I fail at something and I get in trouble, I HATE it. Having said that, I’m also a very good apologiser. I rarely, if ever do horrible things on purpose but I’m human and I will occasionally do something horrible by accident. When that happens, I always admit it, apologise and move on. There’s no point in denying what you did, even if what you did was misconstrued or the person over reacted. You did the thing, apologise, move on and don’t do it again.

2. Don’t enter a conflict with winning as your goal 

Enter a conflict with resolution as your goal. This is hard because most people enter conflicts because they think they’re right and they’re defending their position. It’s helpful to enter a disagreement with an open mind and a genuine goal of resolving the issue. For example if you’re doing a lot of unpaid overtime at work and you want the matter resolved, go to your boss with resolution as your goal. This could mean getting paid for the overtime, getting time in lieu for the overtime or not doing the overtime at all. Those are all solutions to the problem  and while you may have a preference for one of those solutions, it may not be one that works for your boss. Look at the actual problem (unpaid overtime) and look at all solutions to that problem being good solution, not just the one you want to be the solution.

conflict management

3. If it’s a particular person you conflict with, try to figure out how to work with their personality 

Some people respond well to ego stroking and compliments, other people respond well to being included in your team. Some people need to get ranty about things and other people love a laugh. I worry with all this personality testing that goes on that people arm themselves with information about their own personality and expect others to conform to that when we should all be trying to embrace everyone’s personalities. It’s not pleasant if someone’s reaction to a bad situation is to huff around the office all afternoon but if it happens once a month and they’re a decent person the rest of the time, just embrace it as a thing they do and you have to deal with it.

conflict management

This week on Straight and Curly, Kelly and I are talking about conflict management and resolution.

Topics covered…

  • Understanding the cause of the conflict
  • Admitting when you’re wrong
  • Focussing on a resolution istead of winning
  • Recognising your conflict partner’s fighting style
  • Choosing your timing and words carefully

You can listen here or on your favourite podcast app.

Also if you’re a regular listener of Straight and Curly we’d LOVE for you to leave us a rating and a review. As some of you may know we made the move to being an independent podcast this year and in the process, we lost ALL of our ratings, review and our ranking so essentially we’re starting at the bottom again. If you have a spare moment, leaving us a review would make our day and it helps new people find our podcast too.

So tell me…

How are you when it comes to conflict? Are you okay at it? Or does it make you want to crawl in a bush and cry?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.
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  1. Virginia 1 year ago

    I hate conflict. I usually avoid it and just go with whatever is happening and remain unhappy. I know, not good. These are fantastic tips! ?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Thank you! I do find avoidance is often preferable, unfortunately it’s not always a great solution. I’m with you though if I could just run away I would!

  2. Kathryn OHalloran 1 year ago

    I’m pretty good with conflict resolution. I figure why bitch about something, either internally or externally, without doing something about it. Also, a lot of the time if you ask nicely, a fair percentage of people are happy to oblige and probably haven’t realised they being annoying until you point it out. A smaller percentage are trying it on to see if they can get away with it. Then there’s the tiny percentage who are just arseholes.

    One thing that does annoy me often is when I speak up about something then I get people thanking me because they were annoyed by the situation too. That’s bad enough from a random stranger but when it’s a group of friends and they expect you to always be the one who speaks up then it wears thin. Just because I do it, doesn’t mean I like it better than anyone else. I guess I need conflict resolution about conflict resolution.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh my god yes! I had a weird incident a few years ago where I worked with young woman who was an amazing teaching assistant but another assistant didn’t like her and used to constantly bitch to upper management about her. I stood up for her in a meeting once directly to the principal who was totally shocked that I would do that. A couple of staff members thanked me after that meeting because the unfair treatment of this assistant had been bothering them for years. It was bonkers.

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