SDI & Conflict : Have a Nice Conflict
What are the costs of conflict for individuals and organizations? High turnover, disengagement, grievances and lawsuits, absenteeism, divorce, dysfunctional families, prejudice, fear... these are well-documented. What many people don't realize is that having a nice conflict can actually be a force for positive change.
MOTIVATION CHANGES IN CONFLICT
Elias H. Porter’s work in conflict is perhaps his most significant contribution to the field of psychology. Based on his observations with clients and research into the results of his own psychometrics, he stated the following:
“When we are free to pursue our gratifications, we are more or less uniformly predictable, but in the face of continuing conflict or opposition we undergo changes in motivations that link into different bodies of beliefs and concepts that are, in turn, expressed in yet different behavior traits.”
Porter’s theory of Relationship Awareness introduces the concept of a Conflict Sequence™ — suggesting that people experience changes in their motivation predictably and sequentially in up to 3 stages.
Represented by the arrowhead on the SDI® charting triangle, a participant’s unique Conflict Sequence represents a progression of internal and external responses to conflict situations as the issue escalates or drags on. With the self-awareness achieved by taking the SDI self-assessment, participants learn to recognize these changes in themselves and in others — then learn what to do about it. In Stage 1, the focus is on Themselves, the Problem, and the Other Person. If the conflict is not resolved in Stage 1, they move to Stage 2 where the focus narrows to Themselves and the Problem — the other person has dropped out of the picture. Stage 3 is the most damaging because the individual has lost sight of the Problem and the Other Person. In Stage 3, the focus is only on Self.
5 KEYS TO HAVING A NICE CONFLICT
Productive conflict management can be broken down into five key areas:
Anticipate — Anticipating conflict starts with having a better understanding of the people you're dealing with and how their view of a situation might differ from your own. When you respect a person's unique vantage point, you're better equipped to steer clear of their conflict triggers.
Prevent — Preventing conflict is about the deliberate, appropriate use of behaviors in your relationships. If you know what's important to a person—what they value—you can prevent conflict with him/her by using words or actions that don't threaten those values.
Identify — There are three basic approaches in conflict: rising to the challenge (assert), cautiously withdrawing (analyze), or wanting to keep the peace (accommodate). When you are able to spot these approaches in yourself and others, you are empowered to handle conflict situations more productively.
Manage — Managing conflict involves creating conditions that enable others to manage themselves out of the emotional state of conflict. But it's also important to manage yourself out. Managing yourself in conflict can be as easy as taking some time to see things differently.
Resolve — To create movement toward resolution, we need to show the other person a path back to feeling good and valued. When people feel good about themselves, they are less likely to feel threatened and are free to move toward resolution.
These techniques and more are featured in Personal Strengths Publishing's book Have a Nice Conflict: How to Find Success and Satisfaction in the Most Unlikely Places (www.haveaniceconflict.com). The book follows the journey of John Doyle, a middle manager fighting to save his relationships and rescue his sinking career. It's an engaging story of one man's odyssey deep into Relationship Awareness concepts. Based on the research of Dr. Elias H. Porter, the book reveals a relational approach to conflict that consistently leads to productive results and stronger relationships.
SDI DEPERSONALIZES CONFLICT
People who complete the SDI get a chance to talk about conflict without actually experiencing conflict. The SDI provides a common language that helps people identify conflict triggers in their relationships and learn to manage conflict situations more effectively. They reduce preventable conflict and turn warranted conflict into opportunities for growth and the strengthening of relationships. When people understand their own Conflict Sequence better, they feel more empowered to choose behavior more consciously — to reframe their communication and minimize the potential for conflict.