A different perspective on conflict management

Conflict management assumes that parties to a conflict have some sort of rational disagreement. But what if the problem isn’t a conflict? Or, what if there is a conflict, but it isn’t about anything that can be rationally discussed?

We humans are tribal animals. People who are in our tribe, we like, people who are not we don’t. If we have a problem with someone’s behavior, we almost always label them as a problem and as other and as soon as we do that, everything they do, we will find a way to fault them.  This is tribal thinking and it’s REALLY common and it’s not rational, it’s instinctual.

What basically happens is – we decide we don’t like someone (often for rather arbitrary reasons) and then we find ways to rationalize our dislike by looking at what they are saying and/or doing and taking issue with it.  These then become the basis of our “conflicts.”

While the individuals involved can almost always articulate why they are in “conflict” with another person, the conflict itself is actually a manifestation of an underlying behavioral and instinctual dynamic that is playing out.  In these cases, resolving the conflict doesn’t actually resolve the real conflict.

This is why effective approaches to conflict management are designed to help the conflicted parties see each other as valid and human. It’s about bringing the “other” person into the fold of the tribe, however that is defined by them. Once that happens, the parties can usually start rationally discussing the “conflict” and resolve it by coming to some sort of agreement.

But sometimes this isn’t possible because one side or the other will just flatly refuse to see the other person as valid. When this happens, another approach is needed because, what is happening, is beyond reason. What is needed in these situations is a behavioral approach.  The goal is still to help the individuals see each other as valid. It’s just that in some cases, people’s tribal habits are so ingrained, they can’t just – overcome them rationally. These people need to a behavioral intervention to help them break the bad habit of tribally segregating people.

This is also one of the reasons why humanistic leadership is so important. The basis of the approach is to view everyone as part of the same tribe so that that we minimize tribal thinking in the first place.

To learn more – check out this online course.
Why Conflict Management Does Work When the Problem is Bullying - https://humanistlearning.com/conflictresolution/

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