Conflict, disputes, and disagreements are the inevitable result of the interaction between personalities and circumstances. This applies to all groups, and arguably more in Community Living environments like Sectional Title Schemes.
It arises from a perceived threat to interests, needs, concerns, rights, or power. The key word here is perceived.
Perceptions are filtered subjectively, so it follows that we all have different perceptions of the same thing. Actions, performance and emotions reinforce perceptions, which then turn in to assumptions. The two feed off of each other and one might say…
- Perceptions drive assumptions…
- Assumptions drive attitudes, positions, and behaviour.
- Attitudes, positions, and behaviour drive conflict.
Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in
~ Alan Alda
There are fundamentally four types of conflict:
- Values one person’s values are not the same as another’s.
- Relationships individuals don’t get on for subjective reasons – perhaps a personality clash or prejudice.
- Data access to the same or different levels of information generate conflict because interpretation of that information differs.
- Interests stakeholders don’t share the same objectives or priorities; by definition a conflict of interests.
Perceptions get filtered through culture, experience, faith, archetypes, values, beliefs or gender.
So it follows that we all have different viewpoints of the same thing.
Example: I perceive that she is feeling angry because of the abrupt voice message.
I therefore assume that she’s angry with me because I was tardy getting my Body Corp Levies paid. I perceive that my neighbour who is Trustee of the Body Corp complained – and therefore conclude that they’re ganging up on me.
Conflict emanates from assumptions based on little information, preconceived notions, and entrenched stereotyping.
Making assumptions in our daily lives is normal, and necessary to function. We assume that a traffic light will turn red when it is amber, and we assume that our cars will move forward when we hit the gas pedal. Assumptions that are part of our daily lives are not appropriate for the purposes of resolution, negotiation, having difficult conversations, or for conflict coaching.
It is those little assumptions that drive attitudes and behaviour that add to negative conflict.
- The true & full extent of this disagreement is simple, clear and unnecessary to delve into or even discuss.
- I know who the parties are – I don’t need to find out more about that.
- He’s taking sides and is therefore now a key player in the conflict.
- There are no options other than this obvious one.
- Resources are finite [fixed pie] – there’s no room to expand and/or explore ways to grow the pie.
- She’s got no experience and is naïve.
- He is anti-establishment – so his input is not valid.
- Her culture is just so different, she can’t possibly contribute much.
- This is the same situation I’ve seen many times.
- This is going to cost us money – I can smell it.
- She’s just a troublemaker.
Sources of interpersonal and intergroup conflict:
- Lack of appreciation
- Lack of closeness
- Lack of acceptance
- Lack of rapport
- Lack of respect
- Lack of support
- Lack of fun
- Lack of equality
- Lack of clear boundaries
- Lack of collaboration
- Talking-the-talk but not walking-the-walk
- Improvising, rather than having productive, focused conversations
- Personality attacks
EMAIL & TEXT MESSAGING | A Greater Source of Conflict Than We Realise
Conflict can develop even when both sides share a common goal and are not in opposition to each other.
The intrinsic subject may indeed not be the cause of a rift. By virtue of convenience and accessibility, these tools have nudged other forms of communication to the side-lines.
It’s quick, it’s easy and the repercussions can be disastrous: Electronic Mail including email, texts, WhatsApp etc.
Electronic Mail is ubiquitous. Elementary schools have even set up Gmail accounts for their students. It’s seen as progressive when in fact text based communication is regressive.
“Embolism-mail” obstructs the natural flow of discussion and stops communication.
This pie chart breaks down communication in to parts.
This leaves a mere 7% allocated to words.
As you compose a new message you are starting your “conversation” with a 93% disadvantage. In a neutral situation, an email or text is sent and received with no problem. Yet, with tension between the parties, it will become worse.
Shielded by our screens we operate under a false sense of security. We cannot see or hear our opponent’s reactions, so we are invincible.
That is until receiving a reply. So the destruction is played out from one electronic mail to the next (and smiley faces don’t work well). When you’re face-to-face, it’s easy to see the problem you’re causing.
For example, the word ‘okay’, expressed over email may be seen as hostile and abrupt.
In person, the word ‘okay’ could be the icebreaker that is needed. A smile, a nod or a change in tone will unblock the communications’ arteries quicker than a dozen emails.
Optimal goals are attained by face-to-face communication as first prize, video calls as second, telephone as third, and email or text as last.
Communication without eye contact and body language invites miscommunication.
When using email respect one basic rule.
Do not send an unpleasant email until the following day. By that time you’ve calmed down, turned off the caps Lock and are able to re-word your thoughts. In fact, chances are you may not even send the email at all.
You may just pick up your phone and say, “I know we are both on tight schedules, but we really should meet and sort this out“.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said
~ Peter Drucker