In this paper I will be discussing two styles of interpersonal conflict management while integrating some faith-based solutions. I’ll also elaborate through examples from a television show where there is an identifiable communication conflict and which style of it led to a poor outcome between the two characters. Moreover, I’ll determine which strategy would have best been used to effectively manage the problem to produce a better outcome. Finally, an example in nursing will be discussed where the same conflict could arise and how to prevent that from escalating. Conflicts could have many underlying factors. It can create stress, generate anger, and what we should understand is that there are ways to resolve them. It requires change and action between each motivating case.
Randall has a tendency to make uncomfortable family moments with confrontations, so it wasn’t surprising he wasted no time in calling out his sister Kate for a statement she made. Randall is an adopted child of the Pearson family in the ABC hit drama series, This Is Us. Kate his younger sister, had some poor choice of words saying Randall can’t live or pass on Jack’s (their father) legacy to his children only because he wasn’t blood related. Kate doesn’t actually believe Randall is an illegitimate member of the family, she simply forgot as she was already embroiled while arguing with her older brother Kevin and mother Rebecca earlier that same day.
As tense as the altercation was, Randall would eventually understand that his sister didn’t mean what she said, and Kevin will probably receive some blame from Kate for speaking out of context to Randall about what she said. The argument was just a vehicle for Randall to find his purpose while honoring both his adopted and real fathers’ legacies. Obviously, Kate had meant what she said in a biological manner, but she doesn’t realize how that might come off to Randall, as if Jack his father that he admires and so loves, isn’t a part of him at all.
There is a lack of communication in feelings. Collaboration is the ideal solution when facing conflict and relates to the nature and quality with which people work together (Eliason, 2014). Collaboration involves submission, a willingness to learn as well as to give, and willingness to trust one another. This goes beyond cooperating with someone, which is simply a combined effort to achieve a collective result.
Collaborating plays a crucial role in conflict resolution, it takes courage and consideration, as well as listening to the other’s side, discussion of agreements and goals, and ensuring common understanding. Collaboration is good when you have the time and want to work something out that pleases all sides, or when you care about the other person while feeling strongly about the issue. You want to get thoughts and feelings out on the table and deal with them, so it prevents any future mistakes or problems. Another example of an interpersonal conflict management is compromising.
Eliason (2014) states that new situations or interests bring more potential for conflict, and we may never be able to devise compromise all the time. However, it is a big step towards conflict resolution. Both courage and consideration are used when both parties look for common ground. Each party must agree to negotiate larger points and letting go of the smaller ones. This style expedites the process of resolution (Webb, Coleman, Rossignac, Tomasulo, & Higgins, 2017). Any of these styles would have brought a different and effective management of the conflict between Randall and Kate that would’ve produced a better and quicker outcome.
Moeller & Kwantes (2015) put forth that the outcomes of interpersonal conflict are not only determined by the conflict itself but also by the way it was handled. Confrontational and domineering tactics have been found to magnify the adverse impact of conflict. In achieving collaboration and compromise, a commitment to honesty is essential (Eliason, 2014). This means that when being open, it should at times come with personal vulnerability. As brother and sister especially, Randall and Kate should lovingly, clearly, in their best abilities be able to express themselves. In so doing, allowing the other to ask clarifying questions, with the willingness to listen to each other, particularly while disagreeing.
In nursing, similar conflicts may arise but there are strategies to prevent instances of escalation. Nursing involves working with different people, different cultures, different walks of life, and it’s important to make sure we are aware of assumptions. It can be easy to forget how our upbringing or how our cultural approaches could affect a patient or coworker. Disagreements can be an opportunity to build one another up (Eliason, 2014). Web et al., (2017) posits that we draw attention to what we agree on because more than likely there are many more of those than disagreements.
They also say we should practice seeking the greater issues that may exist beyond the specific disagreement, because when managed effectively, conflict can even improve and increase the relationship satisfaction (Web et al., 2017). These are people we’ll be working together with, so therefore we shouldn’t underestimate the value of minimizing their inherent costs. Particularly in nursing, where social relationships can affect our mortality, stress, and our physical, mental health and well-being.
In sum, I discussed what I believe are effectively identifying and managing interpersonal conflicts to produce outcomes that are essential in bringing about a beneficial solution for the parties involved. Two types of conflict management are collaboration and compromise. Matthew 18:15 says “if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
Sometimes it our own self that prevents us from finding resolution, it is not something Jesus would do. Assessing our own behavior can assure that we aren’t obstructing the Spirit and prohibiting ourselves from opening up to our own brothers and sisters. Committing to honesty is essential, and conflict will always be a part of interpersonal relationships (Eliason, 2014). It shouldn’t be viewed as inhibiting dysfunction, or feared but rather, a synergistic necessity that conflicts are normal in close relationships.