Solving a problem is not easy


It is not in the first place because nobody has taught us to do it and above all, because they are such complex situations where emotions are always on the surface. Differences, anger or anxiety cloud our reason and that's when we perceive that we lack resources, adequate strategies.

Thus, as Stephen Robbins, an expert in organizational behavior and professor at the University of San Diego, tells us, conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another has negatively affected it or is about to affect it. negatively, any of your interests. They are moments where a small alarm goes off, so to speak, in our brain.

"We cannot solve problems using the same type of thinking that we use when we create them."


If there is something that we must admit, it is that nobody likes these situations. However, managing these differences and those situations where our interests intersect and dissenting voices appear, is almost essential in our day to day. In any environment, be it work, affective and family, these dynamics arise. Solving them in the best way will help us to be more competent and to feel safer on a daily basis.

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Tactics to resolve a conflict

Is there an ideal and infallible strategy to resolve a conflict? The answer is no. Each situation involves a series of characters caught in an original problem that has led to that complicated situation. Therefore, there is no solution for everyone, a remedy for all ills, an answer that works for each party. Now, what is within our reach are a series of strategies from which we can start.

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann's 5 Strategies Model

Psychologists Kenneth Thomas and Raph Kilman developed a conflict management model that, despite being over 50 years old, continues to be applied. The truth is that it is useful and allows us to reflect on many situations where those differences occur, those disagreements. Let's see what this approach consists of.

Ways in which conflicts will not be resolved and which we must avoid

  • The competitor mode: it is a type of dynamic where we assume the role of an assertive but not cooperative person. In this case it is oriented only towards power and to satisfy their own interests. Whoever limits himself to competing will exclusively defend his own rights and will defend a single position. If an agreement is reached it will be by imposition.
  • The one who eludes. In this case we have someone who is neither assertive nor cooperative. They are profiles that choose to postpone meetings, who prefer not to speak or even assume the fact that there is no conflict.
  • The complacent way. In this type of dynamic we would have someone who is not assertive either. However, something even more complex happens: you put aside your own interests to satisfy the other person's. In other words, it self-sacrifices.

Ways that will help us resolve conflicts

  • Collaborator mode. In this option we would find an assertive and cooperative profile. They are people who work with each other to find a solution that fully meets the objectives of both parties. To do this, they analyze, contrast interests, value, explore disagreements, resolve differences and apply great creativity.
  • The way of compromise, on the other hand, places us in an intermediate zone between assertiveness and cooperation. When there is a commitment, the objective is focused on finding a timely solution that benefits both parties. In this case, work is not usually carried out as in-depth as in collaborator mode. Be part of the differences to find quick solutions, a temporary agreement that helps us continue moving forward.

The authors defend that when a person is aware of these categories, they can select the strategy that is most appropriate to solve each new confrontation that arises.

But how to put all this into practice?

Resolving conflicts is possibly that pending account that we all drag in one way or another. It is enough that a concrete situation arises to perceive that emptiness. Thus, it is very possible that it will be difficult for us to apply the method proposed by Kenneth Thomas and Raph Kilman overnight. However, it is all a matter of mentalizing ourselves. To put will, assertiveness and Emotional Intelligence.

To lay the foundations for this progress, these tips can help us.

  • Don't try to avoid the problem. Solve it. By addressing them as they arise, we will eliminate future causes of conflict.
  • Begin by identifying your own instinctive reaction to conflict. You can do it thinking about how you have managed a couple of previous conflictive situations, being honest in the assessment.