Conflict is a situation in which people or groups act out of a belief that they have incompatible and opposed goals, values, or interests.
Conflict is a normal and natural part of life. It arises in all parts of life because people have different goals, priorities, responsibilities, values, and backgrounds.
Conflict is inevitable.
Conflict has both destructive and constructive sides and consequences. Constructive conflict is creative and can lead to better relationships and better quality decisions.
Destructive conflict damages relationships, eroding respect and trust, and taking time and focus away from our mission of providing an exemplary education. Learn more:
- Characteristics of constructive and destructive conflict
- Costs of destructive conflict
- CEDR’s Conflict Management Toolbox - How can you manage conflict more constructively?
- Learn how to listen effectively. More...
- Explore interest-based negotiation. More...
- Learn how to have conversations about challenging issues. Learn more.
- Contact CEDR to talk about help in increasing your skills or facilitating a conversation, meeting , or other problem-solving session.
|Destructive Conflict||Constructive Conflict|
|Each party attempts to “win”||Parties try to find a solution|
|Contentious tactics||Creative joint problem solving|
|Antagonism between parties increases||Considers dissenting opinions|
|Relationships deteriorate||Relationships remain respectful, may improve|
|Increasingly judgmental||Non-judgmental, exploratory discussions|
|High levels of anger, frustration||Little negative emotion|
|Effective communication declines||Communication is open and honest|
|Real issues are often not addressed||High quality outcomes, taking all
information and needs into account to the extent possible
|Conflict is avoided and left to fester|
Poorly handled, destructive conflict has high costs for you and for the functioning of your school, district, and area.
TYPICAL COSTS OF DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICT:
- Time spent on the conflict by employees, supervisors, parents, others
- Legal costs
- Low morale
- Increased stress
Damaged working relationships
Reduced communication which leads to:
- low information flow
- continued conflicts based on poor communication and understanding
- lower quality decisions
and ENERGY AND FOCUS ARE DISTRACTED FROM DoDEA’S EDUCATIONAL MISSION
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus
- Read more about active listening:
- Watch a listening video:
- Assess your listening skills:
- Contact CEDR to discuss communication training
Interest-based Negotiation (also known as “Principled Negotiation” or “Integrative Negotiation")
- Roger Fisher and William Ury in Getting to Yes: Negotiating without Giving In – a classic and still a worthwhile read
- Air Force Fact Sheet: www.adr.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=7363
- Beyond Intractability (essay with references): www.beyondintractability.org/essay/interest-based_bargaining/
- CADRE presentation on positions and interests: www.directionservice.org/cadre/flashtours/positions_demonew.htm
- Contact CEDR to:
- Help you sort out possible interests in your conflict
- Discuss Interest-based Negotiation training
Having Challenging Conversations
- Judy Ringer, We Have to Talk: A Step-By-Step Checklist for Difficult Conversations: www.mediate.com/articles/ringerJ1.cfm
- Harvard Business Review slideshow, Difficult Conversations: Nine Common Mistakes: hbr.org/web/slideshows/difficult-conversations-nine-common-mistakes/1-slide
- Kerry Patterson, et al., Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High
- Douglas Stone, et al., Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
- Contact CEDR to
- Help you work on an approach
- Find a mediator/facilitator to help the conversation move forward productively