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The process of making and maintaining relationships with other humans is surprisingly complex, even though many people do not realize it. There are very many nonverbal cues and other signals that can drastically affect the way that one person views another. Despite all of this, most people have little trouble making and keeping friends. One of the most important factors in upholding a relationship is how well both parties deal with conflict. After all, everyone has their own opinions and unique set of beliefs and because of this, there is bound to be some conflict among all relationships.
In dealing with conflict, people may choose to be extremely stubborn and abrasive, while others decide to take a passive approach in order to avoid the conflict altogether. Of course these are just the two extremes and most people deal with conflict in a more balanced method.
This paper will examine my own style of conflict management in different situations before comparing and contrasting my different approaches to handling conflict.
The workplace is definitely an area that fosters conflict. The very nature of competitive business pits one company against another for survival. This can often make work environments very stressful and demanding as managers and other decision makers attempt to get the most out of their employees. Dealing with conflict in the workplace can be tricky, as an aggressive approach will often breed contempt towards that person by superiors and other coworkers.
Because of this, I try to manage any conflict I experience in the workplace with extreme care and levelheadedness.
I understand the importance of a healthy work environment to company productivity, and I also understand how fragile a good work environment can be. Due to this fact, I think through every disagreement that arises at work before I act. This is slightly dissimilar to the way I act in non-work situations. Because I feel a great deal closer with friends, family and others who I am around outside of the workplace, I feel more comfortable taking a stronger and slightly more aggressive stance in certain disputes.
I know that the relationship I have with these people will not be harmed by how I deal with these conflicts. Also, because these situational conflicts are not in the workplace, I do not need to worry about maintaining the proper work environment by avoiding conflict. For example, I might be more passionate about a disagreement I have with someone I just met on the street as opposed to an argument with a co-worker because I know that I will have to work and interact with that co- worker every day after the argument occurs. These two conflict styles, in my opinion, have fostered the best possible relationships, both with my close friends and my co-workers.
In the workplace, people see me as friendly and somewhat eager to please, which has led to some promotions and high praise from my superiors. In my other relationships outside of work, my methods of dealing with conflict have created extremely open relationships, where my friends are not afraid to speak their minds around me, even when it means directly opposing my world views. These two approaches to dealing with conflict, although seemingly opposite, do have some similarities. First of all, both conflict styles are implemented keeping the end result in mind. My conflict style in the workplace seeks to create a friendly work environment, while my methods of dealing with conflict among friends foster healthy and open relationships. Also, while one of conflict management approaches is more direct and confrontational, I still aim to treat everyone with respect in any dispute. It is obvious how one's approach to conflict can mean the difference between good or bad relationships with others. I try, every day, to thoroughly think through any conflicts that arise before I act. Keeping a level head will help avoid any conflict escalation and can save a lot of time and damage to relationships. I hope that as time goes on, my methods of dealing with conflict will only continue to improve.
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