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RIDEr from the West

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What Causes Conflicts

Greetings again,

Please accept my apologies for missing the last newsletter deadline. Life happens, and it seems to happen all at once!

But I am here now and what a time it's been! I continue to grow as an interpreter as I hope all of you as well! The family is doing well and we are prospering. I just passed my 41st birthday and can feel the gray hairs popping out of my scalp! I guess I shouldn't complain about getting older...it's a lot better than the alternative!!

I want to spend a little time this issue talking about resolving conflicts as interpreters.

What causes conflicts? Uncommunicated expectations.

Working with other interpreters, we may have a different expectations towards a job, a training or a situation than do other interpreters. The reason is simple...yet complex. Why the different expectations? We all have different mothers! That's about it my friends, we learned how to deal with conflict and resolutions from our family as we grew up.

Kung ano ang puno ay siyang bunga !! Hate to admit it, but the fruit really doesn't fall far from the tree! Look carefully at how you handle a conflict...see your mom? your dad? perhaps your kuya or ate? Most of us never really "learned" how to handle conflicts well.

The first step to resolving issues is to recognize that it exists.

Let's say there is only one orange in the fridge...and you and your sister both want it. You both are arguing that you NEEEED THAT orange, nothing less than one whole orange will do for either of you!

What should we do? Think about a solution a while, while we cover the five conflict resolution styles.

  • Competing Conflict Style: A user of the competing conflict style attempts to resolve the conflict by getting her or her own way. It is very assertive, uncooperative, autocratic style that attempts to satisfy your OWN needs, even at the expense of others. It creates a WIN-LOSE situation. (You take the orange when she is not looking and run. You are not thinking of her needs at all.)
  • Avoiding Conflict Style: Someone who uses the avoiding conflict style simply attempts to ignore the conflict rather than face and resolve it. It is passive aggressive, uncooperative and unassertive. It tries to attain what the user wants by avoiding or postponing the conflict and hoping it works out. A LOSE-LOSE situation is created. (You both avoid the conflict and neither of you gets the orange.)
  • Accommodating Conflict Style: Users attempt to resolve the conflict by giving in to the other party. It is unassertive but cooperative. It satisfies the other party while neglecting your own needs. A WIN-LOSE situation is created with the other party winning. (You give in and just give the orange to your sister.)
  • Compromising Conflict Style: The user attempts to resolve conflicts by give and take...by making concessions. This style tries to satisfy everyone and keep harmony. It tries to be "fair" to all and involves cooperation and assertiveness, but a win-win or lose-lose may result. (Your first impulse may be to simply cut the orange into two pieces, and each take half. That's fair, isn't it? Quite fair to both of you as you each have equal shares, right? Wrong...sometimes the "fair" way isn't the best way. Neither of you are truly satisfied and you both desire more orange for your needs.)
  • Collaborating Conflict Style: People who use this style attempt to resolve conflicts with the best solution that is agreeable to all parties. This is also sometimes called the problem-solving style. It is assertive and cooperative. The collaborator attempts to fully address the concerns of all. THIS IS THE ONLY CONFLICT STYLE THAT CREATES A WIN-WIN SITUATION.

Before we go on, let me establish this; you can never negotiate from a position, only from an interest. Your position is what you've decided you need/want. Your interest is WHY or WHAT caused you to decide what you need/want.

For example, back to the orange... your position is that you (and your sister) NEED that orange, the whole orange and nothing less. Apparently no place to budge or negotiate eh? True...if you're looking at the positions of you and your sister. But let's examine your interests.

Why are you interested in having the whole orange?

Well... its your mom's birthday, and she LOVES orange cookies...you need the juice of one whole orange for the cookie dough, juice from half an orange wouldn't be enough. And you don't want to disappoint mom with dry flavorless cookies.

Well your sister plans to bake a birthday cake for mom...she needs the skin and rind to make the orange glaze for the topping, and the skin of half an orange would not be enough to cover the whole cake!

It seems that a solution is at hand! By looking past your positions , find out your reasons, then negotiate from your interests.

You can take the WHOLE orange and squeeze the juice for yourself and then your sister can take the skin of the WHOLE orange and make her glaze.

From ONE orange you've managed to get 2 WHOLE oranges for your needs!

Lets look at our conflicts and work on finding solutions based upon interests and not upon positions. By doing this in our professional and private lives, we will be happier as will those around us.

God Bless all till next time!