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Communication is a significant element in human relations that plays a substantial role in uniting people. Conversely, communication can sow discord between individuals and groups. Relationships morph, in part, by the communication style and skill sets that one exhibits when expressing thoughts and beliefs. The following essay will highlight communication as a central instigator and remedy for conflict. To this end, the thesis will explore ways to enhance communication skill sets to mitigate conflict.
While I tend to avoid conflict, I feel confident in resolving it if it arises. For instance, I find that humor dissipates the conflict. Therefore, my strength emanates from incorporating repair efforts (Deutsch et al., 2014). These are attempts to calm the situation, and they are humor, playfulness, and willingness to forgive. I will outline the skill sets I wish to enhance in conflict, followed by a paragraph articulating the steps I will take. Finally, I will feature a means of assessment at the end of the section in the form of a question.
Gaining a sense of responsibility for one’s feelings
I will keep my feelings in check by employing calming techniques, such as taking deep breaths before saying anything. Feelings unwittingly influence the tone of voice and non-verbal cues (Katz, 2010). The assessment: “Do the people in the conflict register fewer outbursts on my part?”
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Increasing perspective-taking skills
I will achieve this by inculcating empathetic listening and paraphrasing what I hear when I am the listener (DeVito, 2015). From listening, this will gift me the opportunity to understand the other person’s perception of the situation. The assessment: “Do I understand the individual’s perspective?”
Learning to determine whether to confront or avoid a conflict
I will take a step back and assess the probability of the conflict escalating. If the conflict is bound to increase without the possibility of a positive outcome, then I will avoid the situation and vice versa (Deutsch et al., 2014). The assessment: “Is there a chance of reaching a positive outcome?&rdquo
Avoiding destructive conflict patterns
I will realize this by first understanding destructive conflict patterns. The patterns are an offshoot of negative styles of communication. The four methods, if left unchecked, can precipitate escalating conflict and destruction of relationships. They include criticism, stalling, defensiveness, and contempt (DeVito, 2015). Ergo, I will incessantly avoid these negative styles. The assessment: “Do I find ease in resolving conflict or does the conflict keep escalating?”
Recognizing motives in conflict situations
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Motives usually revolve around human needs. They include physical, economical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual needs (Katz, 2010). For the resolution of conflict, one must address the core motive or issue that is specific to each conflict. I will communicate about the problem in a manner that does not generate obstacles. In essence, I will listen empathetically, without interrupting and then talk about it in a corresponding manner (DeVito, 2015). The assessment: “Do I know what the conflict is about?”
Understanding how relationships affect conflict behavior
I understand that relationships are a harbor for intense emotions. They are a source of love, hope, expectation, anger, disappointment, betrayal, trust, etc. As a result, they recreate variables that are integral to the dynamic of the relationships and the subsequent occurrence of a conflict (DeVito, 2015). At the onset of a conflict, I will remember to recognize and manage my emotions as well as my partner’s (if possible). Thus, I can communicate appropriately. I will avoid sending unwitting non-verbal cues or use a tone of voice that could escalate the conflict or impede understanding. The assessment: “Am I fighting fair or am I launching communication roadblocks such as contempt and defensiveness?” Alternately, “Am I able to remain patient with my partner despite my feelings of hurt or disappointment and address the issue?”
Recognizing the variables that affect conflict
As I mentioned earlier, relationships are comprised of vvariables that may have a debilitating effect on a relationship or make it grow. I recognize a variable such as trust as a core factor in influencing perception and ultimately, understanding (Mayer, 2010). Therefore, I will pay attention to the unique variable in the specific relationship and the knowledge generated. Through my perspective-taking skills, I will grasp their perception of the situation and adequately resolve the situation (Deutsch et al., 2014). The assessment: “Am I able to identify the variables (if any) in play?”
Analyzing conflicts for a wider array of choices
I will attain this skill through the utilization of an earlier stated power — the ability to recognize motive. Some conflicts are not from a purely rational perspective because the underlying cause is not rational reason. For instance, I cannot resolve betrayal with money. Therefore, my ability to decipher the undertones of the conflict will provide me with the requisite skill set to determine it (Katz, 2010). The assessment: “Do I know the best way to resolve this conflict?”
Increasing anger management skills
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It is a necessary step for me, and it will stem from heightened emotional awareness (Mayer, 2010). I will need to understand others and myself around me better. You cannot communicate efficiently if your non-verbal cues are under the influence of feelings. Although calming techniques (such as taking deep breaths and meditation) may alleviate the problem, the requisite step is an amplification of emotional maturity. The assessment: “Am I able to remain calm in conflict situations?”
Learning to control verbal aggressiveness
I will be careful to the tone I use and the diction incorporated. Obscenities and derogatory language will only serve to incense my partner and augment the conflict (DeVito, 2015). Additionally, the tone of voice may translate to sarcasm, disrespect, contempt or dismissiveness. The elements will compound the conflict further. Ultimately, my communication skill set and ability to control my anger will influence this behavior. The assessment: “Am I conveying a combative or rational tone? Further, is my diction appropriate?”
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