Managing conflict in relationships..when the stress gets too much

In 2009 all we are hearing is doom and gloom and the economists are forecasting it will get a lot worse before it gets better. Its infectious and you can smell fear in the air.

So what occurs when peoples buttons are pushed and when the stress alarms are ringing? Yes its called conflict.

In this current climate its even more important to treasure our close relationships and manage this conflict. Its these relationships which give us strength or can weaken us, so its imperative we keep them working for us so they give us strength. With this strength we are then more resourceful in managing our lives and challenges that we are currently facing. That topic is for another article.

What can be done to manage conflict in relationships? As a woman or a man we should each one of us take responsibility for fully understanding the nature of the other person who is important in our lives. This could be your spouse, your business partner, your kids, your boss or anyone where the relationship is crucial in your life.

You are probably wondering what does she mean by ‘nature’ of the other person?
A persons behaviour in conflict is distinct from their ordinary behaviour, it has varying traits based on the respective individual. Some withdraw and disengage completely, others come out roaring like a lion and a third may come out to smooth the way. Fundamentally there are these 3 main strong types and then a rainbow between these 3, in total 7.

The relevance is not in what they are or what you are, although that is important, its knowing how then to manage the relationship from their ‘nature’ and your ‘nature’. Once both parties are conscious of these ‘conflict styles’ in relationships they can start to manage the relationship which will alleviate the conflict and to steer it away to a deadend. There are levels within the conflict, at some point there is no salvaging the conflict.
This whole area of evaluating conflict styles is based upon Strengths deployment Inventory (SDI), it’s a US based tool which has been used by the FTSE 100 companies to manage board rooms for a number of years. Coca-cola has been known to use this to manage its teams. It is based on Porters Relationship awareness theory. What’s different about the SDI® is that it looks at what motivates us (and others) and how our (and their) priorities change, in the face of opposition or conflict. As a result, we learn how to spot the signals of potential conflict in others and ourselves and how to adjust our communication style to avoid unnecessary conflict. This motivational value system is established at an early age and continues with us and manifests behaviour patterns when things go well and when they don’t go so well.
By shifting our focus from only looking at behavior to looking at the motive behind the behavior, we can gain a clearer understanding of ourselves and others.

I am using this tool within my relationship coaching to help people better take charge of their responsibility of the people that they most care about. Right now we are all being tested to show resilience, humanity, compassion, love. How can we honour this if we don’t understand the outward responses caused by stress? So should we be armed to not only understand our key relationships when they are going well but also when they are not going well?

Isnt it better to avoid the escalation of the conflict and to lose the relationship, especially when its important to you? In this moment shouldn’t all of us take full responsibility to ensure we know the conflict behaviours of those that are around us who are important in our lives? Why wait for the conflict to occur? Isnt your loved one important for you to know how to respond?

Should you wish to find out more please drop me a line on