Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
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Campus Life

Managing Conflict

Resolving conflicts is hard. But there are many things we can do to manage them ethically. The following are tools to understanding conflict styles and methods for approaching, managing, and (some times) resolving conflicts:

Understanding Your Conflict Style

Take this questionnaire before watching the video below.

 

“Stop. Look. Listen. Respond.” Method

  • Stop.
    Rather than just reacting to a situation, it is useful to step back and reassess the situation. When we deal with conflict, we often have anger, or one of the parties involved has anger. When people express anger without reassessing the situation, they almost always make things worse.
  • Look.
    A conflict situation will involve facial expressions, tone of voice, pitch, timing, body tension. Look at all the nonverbal behaviors in the people involved in the conflict situation - including yourself! At times, you should also look at your surroundings for anything that might be contributing to the conflict situation.
  • Listen.
    Hear the other person out. Often this is the best mode of discovery. Think of all the times in your own life when you just wanted to be listened to. Others are like that, too. A colleague, a student, a friend - often you can help them and yourself just by listening.
  • Respond.
    After you Stop, Look and Listen, you can then make a considered response. Note that this is the fourth step, not the first. Responses can be verbal or nonverbal. Conflict participants often feel backed into a corner; considered responses will give them a way out that doesn't involve fighting their way out by having to retrieve a damaged self-image.

 

Ten Tips for Managing Conflict, Tension and Anger

Are your 'buttons' are being pushed? Here are ten tips to help you manage conflict:

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