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Mario Puzo from The Godfather once said, “Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.” Although what he said is not attainable by any normal means, the intention is that being reasonable is preferable to getting angry. My analysis of this conflict is credible due to my firsthand experience in it and my researching capabilities through the Beebe textbook. The main point of this essay focuses on a project being work on with a friend and our disagreement in ideas led to a far reaching conflict.
This essay will touch on what type of conflict occurred, the management styles employed during the conflict, and four ways how the conflict would have been better managed. The next segment will delve into the analysis of the conflict. A simple conflict is where individuals disagree over which action to pursue to achieve goals according to Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2012)(p. 225). At the beginning of a science lab, my friend and I were at odds.
Our methods varied vastly in solving a class-wide problem.
I was basing my method on various assumptions about what the teacher wanted, while Jessi was using the information that she gathered from the class. My method seemed clever and I was bent on doing it even though she was basing her work off the rest of the class’ work. My idea consisted of measuring light readings, while she wanted to examine the properties of a plant called Arabidopsis. This conflict is classified as simple due to the understanding between us.
We both were able to understand what each other wanted, but disagreed on what to do. Our differences in ideas led to a fight breaking out over the span of our partnership. The fight that broke out was based on two differing ideas that were incompatible. Only one person was correct, and both of us believed we were right. A simple conflict sounds straightforward, but there are many facets to it which we will explore in the next segment. The two conflict management styles that were used over the course of our partnership were competition and compromise.
The style that I employed was competition. According to Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2012) a competition is exactly what it seems to be, a “win-lose” situation (p. 250). My mindset in our initial conflict was that I was right, and she was wrong. I was stubborn and unwilling to give in to some of Jessi’s good ideas. In that moment, I wanted to win and see Jessi lose the debate. My immature behavior was that I could not believe that someone could come up with a better idea than mine and that pride blinded me from actually analyzing the problem at hand. That prideful nature that I exhibited prevented us from progressing in the project. Instead of looking for common ground, my selfishness kept us at odds and made the conflict last longer than it should have. My friend, in contrast, tried to compromise with me to end our feud. Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2012) stated that to compromise is to attempt to find common ground (p. 234). Our ideas were different, but had a way to use my idea and her idea also.
She wanted the conflict to end, but did not want to accommodate to me. Instead of saying “yes” to me, she showed that she was willing to use some of my ideas as long as we incorporated some of hers. The compromise that she looked for led to us debating on what to do even more, with less arguing and more decision making. Although we were trying to find common ground in terms of ideas, neither of us were content with the process of getting there and the final resolution. In response to our stagnant state, we tried to resolve our disagreement through competition and compromise to some effect. Now we will examine if other types of management skills would have aided in solving our differences.
The first thing management skill that I should have used was to be aware that I was becoming angry. During my younger years, I was eager to debate others on many topics. When that debating nature was coupled with anger, I became volatile and hurtful. In the project with my friend, a lot of time was wasted on arguing, and I didn’t notice how my emotions became wrapped up in a simple class project. With anger, I could have easily said hurtful things to my friend and damage our relationship permanently. The Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2012) textbook states that when the body starts to react with the emotions present, the heart rate increases and adrenaline rushes (p. 238). My emotions were getting wrapped up in the argument and one thing I needed to do in between my talking was to breathe. Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2012) stated that one of the simplest and most effective things to do to avoid overheating is to breathe, and this is for good reason (p. 239). When breathing, you calm yourself down and it helps you manage the adrenaline present.
In my conflict with Jessi, I was the one being irrationally angry, and instead of thinking straight, the adrenaline rush that occurs when angry overtook my brain. I no longer cared for completing the project, but to prove that my friend was wrong in the matter. The extra time it takes to breathe deeply would have helped me regain composure and see that I was doing things in the wrong fashion and that I was not helping the situation at hand. Jessi could have helped the situation if she took the time to establish rapport. Eager to finish the lab, Jessi didn’t give us time to think clearly, but instead tried to find a solution as soon as possible. The climate between us was negative at that moment, and trying to finish the project while we weren’t happy to agree with each other wasn’t the best decision.
A way that we would have worked better was if she took a few minutes, both of us would have given more thought to the situation, and would have argued less. Although she attempted to find a compromise between us, the timing was not ideal since I was not ready to let up on several of the topics that we were in disagreement over. If we were given more time to think and calm ourselves down, a solution could have been found with less fighting between us. Both Jessi and I could have planned our messages better. Being in high school at the time, we weren’t good at planning out what we would say. Instead of thinking rationally and calmly speaking to her, I was rash and acted as if she didn’t understand the topic of the lab. The situation could have ended differently if I was less inflammatory towards her ideas and instead showed her respect. Instead of her speaking calmly, Jessi was complaining that I was not being receptive of her ideas. Although this was true, her complaints weren’t the best way of breaking through my irrational behavior.
Both of us could have worked on planning our messages so that we wouldn’t antagonize each other, but instead lead to us working with each other to finish the lab. The central idea of this paper is that working with a partner can lead to a conflict, but it is manageable through effective communication and management skills. My friend and I had differing ideas on what process to do a project, and it led to a conflict that could have been resolved more effectively. In review, the conflict between Jessi and I was a simple conflict, with opposing ideas and perceptions. Both competition and compromise were used by the two parties to try and resolve the issue. To tie back to the introduction this simple conflict could have been managed with greater success if both of us breathed, assessed our own anger, took the time to rebuild our relationship, and planned out what we would have said. For the concluding statement, as Mario Puzo said from The Godfather, “Reason with people”. This is the most important aspect to any conflict, reasoning. The lack of rationality and reasoning was the cause of our conflict and if we were only wiser, the conflict could have been managed to a greater
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