Dealing with Conflict
Conflict is UnavoidableConflict is a reality of life. Be it with students, parents, administrators, or colleagues, it is unavoidable. Improving our understanding of conflict can help us deal with it more effectively. The three most useful tools to resolve conflict are intellect, maturity, and confidence. The three most destructive tools to deal with conflict are unsubstantiated information, emotion, and defensiveness.
How to Deal with Conflict Constructively
To deal with conflict constructively one must
Working within the context of these three criteria, increases the likelihood of a successful resolution to conflict.
Similarly, if the destructive tools identified above are employed in an attempt to bully, control, or to “get one’s own way”, it is appropriate to identify them as unproductive approaches, request that such tactics not be part of the discussion, and redirect the conversation to a more productive level. Teachers do an excellent job in such circumstances when working with students. It is important to employ the same strategies and patience in all situations.
Strategies for Resolving Conflict
Once the conditions to constructively address conflict are established, several strategies can be employed to reach a resolution.
Avoidance is a viable option when:
Using these options can be very helpful in facilitating a balanced outcome to conflict when supported by effective communication skills. There are two primary factors - assertiveness and co-operation - inherent in these strategies. Your assessment of the issue itself and the response of the party with whom you are dealing will determine the proportion of assertiveness and co-operation that you choose to use in addressing the issue. Again, you want to be involved in an intellectual – not an emotional resolution.
There are no magical solutions when you are dealing with conflict. However, having the skills and a good understanding of the nature of conflict will help you to deal with it confidently. As professionals our role is to bring the best knowledge and strategies to issues to address them in a productive, respectful and positive matter.
Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice.