When we ask people to describe conflict, they often use terms like stress or frustration. It is clear that conflict is trying for many people. Conflict often leads to negative emotions which themselves can contribute to stress. They also make it more difficult to use constructive responses to conflict.
The model underlying the Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) also encourages people to engage rather than avoid conflict. The CDP puts a lot of emphasis on the emotional elements of conflict. It measures hot buttons – behaviors in others that cause us to become upset. The CDP also looks at ways that people respond to emotional upset. It measures the degree to which they hide, express, or act out emotions. The CDP helps people understand what triggers them in the first place, as well as how they manage the emotions once they occur.
So if we don’t want to avoid conflict, but engaging in conflict is stressful, what’s a person to do?
The model underlying the CDP also encourages people to engage rather than avoid conflict. When asked about how they deal with conflict, most people say their typical approach is to try to avoid it. They mention that it is uncomfortable and stressful to address it. At the same time they realize that it is not a very effective strategy.
So if avoiding conflict doesn’t work well and engaging with the other person can be stressful, what’s a person to do? We believe that engaging is the best approach but it should be coupled with improving one’s resiliency. While dealing with conflict can be stressful, this can be overcome if you have the ability to bounce back successfully.
Emerging research in the field of resilience has discovered a variety of techniques for enhancing resilience. These include a variety of physical, emotional, and social processes.
- Improving your physical health by better eating, exercise and sleep can help with resilience.
- A number of approaches for improving emotional health like the use of mindfulness techniques can improve one’s ability to manage emotions in conflict and enhance resilience.
- Strengthening social networks can provide you with outlets to share your challenges and receive support for overcoming them.
Pierre Naquet, president of the Institute of Workplace Dynamics in Paris, notes, “People can increase their resilience and prepare themselves to bounce back from the stress of workplace conflict. This can play a very important part role in improving their quality of life.”