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Showing posts from October, 2014

What is Conflict? Don't let fights go bad.

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What is conflict? Don’t let fights go bad.

Conflict may be defined as an incompatibility of values, beliefs, interests and/or positions.[i] But are conflicts truly caused by an incompatibility, or simply a perception thereof? What is conflict? Can conflict be a good thing?

When you think of the word conflict, what do you feel? Stress, worry, discomfort…? If you have experienced destructive conflict, these strong emotions are understandable. As mediators, we prefer to see conflict as an opportunity for positive change, whether it is personal, relational, organizational, or societal in nature. We believe that conflict is a normal and healthy part of our lives in relationships, families, workplaces and communities. Conflict may present itself due to real or perceived incompatibilities between those involved, but conflict needn’t be destructive. So, we must ask ourselves, what makes one type of conflict destructive and the other constructive?

One of the founding researchers in conflict reso…

Negotiation Strategies and Tactics

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Negotiation happens all the time, and often we are not even aware of it.  Sometimes, particularly when something is important to you, negotiation or even expressing your position can be a monstrously stressful task.  Whether at work or in your personal life, it can feel daunting or intimidating to have to approach the “other side”, whatever that may be.  Alternately, negotiation may not phase you in the least, though you may still wish to improve your efficiency in reaching an agreement.  Remember that many conflicts involve two or more viewpoints that could at least potentially reach an agreement.  It tends to be in both disputants' best long-term interests to settle before litigation, just as much as it is in the interests of co-contractors to effectively understand and agree with each others’ position before signing the deal.  I offer the following general suggestions to consider whenever you enter into a negotiation.  Negotiation: First Things First It is a good idea to reflect…

Long Distance Relationship Advice

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Most of us have some familiarity with long-distance relationships. For context here, I don't just mean romantic ones, since any meaningful relationship you have with anyone can potentially become one of distance. Sometimes it is the surmounting of periods of distance that cements relationships, sometimes it is the failure to adapt to them that leads to their demise. With this post I hope to point to ways that lead to the former, and also offer some insight for those who may be worried about their relationship, in the future, succumbing to the latter.

One piece of advice: Talk. Seriously. And... talk seriously.

Forgive me in advance if you're the type of person who is constantly calling and talking to everyone, but I assume many of us are not. Knowing how and when to have conversation is a skill appropriate in all cases where you and the other person have a solid foundation - probably romantic, family, or as close friends. I offer this suggestion against the paradoxical backgroun…