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New Year’s Conflict Resolution

In the New Year, we encourage you to make a resolution to champion a sustainable change, whether at home, at work, or in your community. But what if your sustainable vision doesn’t line up with the people around you?

A vital first step to resolving a conflict is to understand the root of the disagreement.  Several major causes of conflict have been identified, including conflicting needs, conflicting perceptions, and different personal values. For example, let’s say you want to start composting at home. If your partner does not want to build the compost bin because they want to build a tool shed in the same location instead, you have conflicting needs for that space. Taking a step back to understand the conflict better will allow you to identify the best strategies moving forward.

You and anyone else involved in a conflict likely have a conflict resolution style that you rely on. Five major conflict resolution styles are: confront, compromise, collaborate, accommodate, and avoid. There are times when each style can be appropriate, but knowing your own preference and making sure not to use that style at an inappropriate time is key to successfully managing conflict.

Finally, no matter what strategy you have decided to pursue in order to resolve your conflict, there are certain rules that you can follow to have a constructive conflict. Constructive conflict does not damage relationships in the way that destructive conflict does. Avoid being defensive, showing contempt, stonewalling, and criticizing as these are destructive tactics.  Another good way to have a constructive conflict is to focus only on one issue at a time, instead of bringing up multiple issues and failing to resolve some or all of them.

Additional Resources:

Causes of Conflict

Conflict Resolution Styles

Constructive Conflict