Turn Conflict Into Collaboration! Resources from Magellan Health Services, SMU’s EAP Provider

Conflict is a natural part of life brought on by our different beliefs, experiences and values. If not managed correctly, however, conflict can harm relationships.

 The following are seven steps adults should use to resolve conflict:

  • Treat the other person with respect—Although respecting the other person during a conflict is challenging, we must try. Words of disrespect stop communication in its tracks and may create wounds that may never heal.
  • Confront the problem—Find a time and place to discuss the conflict with the other person.
  • Define the conflict—Describe the conflict in clear, concrete terms. Be specific and start sentences with “I,” not “you.” Focus on behaviors or problems, not people.
  • Communicate understanding—Listen to really understand the other person’s feelings and needs. Step back and try to imagine how the other person sees things.
  • Explore alternative solutions—Take turns offering alternative solutions. Examine consequences of each solution. Agree on the most workable solution.
  • Evaluate after time—Determine a way to check on how well the solution is working.

Now That’s an Idea!

Become an Active Listener— Despite the increasing use of the Internet, cyberspace and text messaging, listening remains a prized skill. The following can help you become an active listener— invaluable to your managerial role:

  • Show interest: Focus on the speaker; don’t answer your phone or check email.
  • Clarify: Check your understanding. For example, “It sounds like you’re saying that _______. Is that right?”
  • Be patient: It’s not easy for some people to talk about important things.
  • Have empathy: Listen with your heart as well as your mind. 


Go Online Today!

Log on to www.MagellanHealth.com/member to access Conflict Resolution and other helpful resources in the Spotlight section. Log on now and register with SMU’s toll-free number 1-877-704-5696.

About Mary Stall

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