lundi 9 avril 2018

Itching for a conflict?

On the surface, a conflict-free life may seem ideal. Many individuals seem to be on the lookout for a stress-free life — things are simple, challenges are few and interpersonal conflicts are non-existent.

Most experts agree, however, that conflict can not always be avoided—it is a part of life. But it can also be a positive experience since it often presents an opportunity to better understand those around us and improve our interactions with them.

In a conflict, the positions and concerns of two individuals may first appear to be miles apart. During a conflict, individuals can be assertive (even aggressive) in trying to satisfy their wants and needs. Alternatively, they can cooperate and try to placate the other person, or attempt to reach a compromise – or respond to the needs and wants of both parties.

Conventional wisdom recognizes, for example, that often "Two heads are better than one" and as such we should collaborate in a conflict situation. On the other hand, some would argue that "Might makes right" and we should try to win at any cost.

As psychologists, we have seen that individual manage conflict in a variety of ways. Conflict management strategies suggest using a set of social skills (e.g. listening, assertiveness, cooperation, problem-solving, persuasion, negotiation). While each conflict situation will often determine the best conflict-handling strategy to be used, we all have our preferred ways of managing interpersonal conflicts and often resort to one strategy type over others.