Conflict Management Finding Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship. Two people can’t be expected to agree on everything, all the time. Learning how to deal with conflict, rather than avoiding it, is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflict provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people. By learning skills for conflict resolution, medical personel can keep their personal and professional relationships strong and growing (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Conflict arises from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Sometimes these differences appear trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem (Segal & Smith, 2016).

These needs can be a need to feel safe and secure, a need to feel respected and valued, or a need for greater closeness and intimacy (Segal & Smith, 2016).

In workplace conflicts, differing needs are often at the heart of bitter disputes, sometimes resulting in broken deals, fewer profits and lost jobs. "When you can recognize the legitimacy of conflicting needs and become willing to examine them in an environment of compassionate understanding, it opens pathways to creative problem solving, team building, and improved relationships" (Segal & Smith, 2016).

The ability to successfully resolve conflict depends on your ability to manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm, controlling your emotions and behavior, paying attention to the feelings being expressed, and by being aware of and respectful of differences (Segal & Smith, 2016).
There are five styles of managing conflict, only one of which is true problem solving. Accommodating refers to smoothing things over. The goal with this tactic is to yield, to preserve harmony and relationships at all costs. Compromising refers to a bargaining process that often results in a less-than-ideal solution as concessions are made. Avoiding conflict is not generally advised. Nurses who avoid conflict at all costs are at odds with the profession’s goal to advance the standard of care delivery, they are not leaders. Competing is generally a negative way to manage conflict. The goal is to “win” at all costs and the style is characterized by high assertiveness and low cooperation. Collaborating is true problem solving. The goal is to find a mutual solution when both sets of interests are too important to be compromised (ASU, 2011).

Listen for what is felt as well as said. When we listen we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also strengthens us, informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us when it's our turn to speak (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Focus on the present. If you’re holding on to grudges based on past resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Pick your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. Maybe you don't want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it (Segal & Smith, 2016).

Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in losing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses. It will only add to our injury by further draining our lives. Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on (Segal & Smith, 2016).
When you can recognize the legitimacy of conflicting needs and become willing to examine them in an environment of compassionate understanding, it opens pathways to creative problem solving, team building, and improved relationships. When you’re able to resolve conflict in a relationship, it builds trust. You can feel secure knowing your relationship can survive challenges and disagreements (Segal & Smith, 2016).
Matthew 18: 15-17 states, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge maybe established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and they tax collector" (ESV). Ephesians 4:31-32 encourages, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (ESV).


Explore the 5 styles of conflict management & resolution in nursing. (2011). The sentinel watch, nursing. Retrieved from

Segal, J. & Smith, M. (2016). Conflict resolution skills. Helpguide. Retrieved from


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