What Is A Conflict?

Posted By on April 21st

What is a conflict? How does it start?

What is a Conflict

As toddlers, we are taught to respect each other and to share. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we forget those lessons. We begin to see conflict as requiring winners and losers. Of course, we want to see ourselves on top, as the winner.

A conflict can begin at the very beginning of a relationship without even realizing it.

A friend of mine told me about a former business partner he had. We’ll call the business partner, Mark. My friend was more skillful in handling the day to day administration and working with the employees while Mark was a skilled negotiator. They had a number of contracts with outside companies, so Mark handled all of those negotiations. In one of the meetings, Mark was negotiating an incredibly favorable contract for his business and he continued to push to see if he could get even more.

My friend suggested they take a break, and outside the room, he said to Mark, “What are you doing? We’ve gotten way more than we expected already. We don’t need any more. We want a long term relationship with these people. This has to be a win-win for both of us.”

Mark responded, “Maybe I don’t understand what you mean by ‘win-win’.”

“Well, we have to win something and they have to win something. What do you think it means?”

Mark smiled, and said, “I thought it meant that we should win, and then we should win some more.”

Mark was having a difficult time understanding the paradigm shift that is required to manage conflict. At that time, the person he was negotiating with was not resisting Mark’s requests. However, my friend recognized that approach was short sighted. Mark’s aggressive behavior was laying the groundwork for an unhealthy relationship and future conflict.

Ask yourself “what is a conflict” and do I know how to deal with it? Need help defining conflict and learning how to manage it? Call me at (239) 210-7516. Your initial consultation is free!

About the author

Keith Grossman helps individuals and businesses negotiate and manage conflict more comfortably. Keith is a Collaborative Attorney, a Family and Circuit Civil mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Florida, an Arbitrator qualified by the Florida Supreme Court, and an educator. Keith frequently lectures and facilitates training programs, works with individuals one-on-one, and writes articles on conflict management and negotiation topics. His e-workbooks, “What Is A Peace Chest?” and “How Do You Build A Peace Chest?“ are now available on Kindle.


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