Conflict Resolution Management (CRM) - a powerful tool in business negotiation and interpersonal relationships.

Indeed, Conflict Resolution Management tangles important characteristics. It is a strong preventive tool to encounter and defuse potential conflicts. It brings efficient and applicable skills to cope with interpersonal or business crisis. It teaches how to manage collaborative negotiation to reach a win-win result.

*In the text below CRM stands for Conflict Resolution Management

Let me introduce this article by asking you an interactive question. Take a pen a paper and write down the first ideas that come out of your mind after the following questions:

If I say the word "conflict"

  1. What does this particular word mean to you?
  2. What do you feel when you think of any kind of personal or business conflict?
  3. What kind of reaction do you have?

I thank you, for trying out this test.

What is conflict

Conflict results from a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas. We are creatures of strong emotions that often have radically different perceptions and have difficulties expressing them clearly. Conflict is also part of social relations. When people interact with one another if their needs and desires are opposed personality clashes occur and business crisis happens. The resulting factors are miscommunication, misinformation, misunderstanding, and disruptive relationships. Conflict analysis describes rhythm -escalation, de-escalation-and typology- displacement, misattribution, latent, and false conflict.

Conflict attitude and emotions

In fact, conflict generates reaction, emotions, and makes us have a certain behavior and attitude.

Our attitude in conflict has a linkage with a combination of different factors. Multiple complex issues might be involved in the conflict such as human and business elements.

Human elements are the individual characteristics of the participants in the conflict, among many others strength, cognitive resources, personality, and emotional state.

Even though, our attitude toward conflict might be altered because of these vectors, we still have our unique and same tendency to react to conflict. Human attitude toward conflict deploys a range of diverse behaviors. Roy J.Lewicki, in his book "Negotiation", has identified five major strategies for approaching conflict: accommodation, avoidance, competition, collaboration, and compromise.

Even if our attitude can change according to the environmental context, however conflict always brings emotions. It can be anger, anxiety, depression, sadness, tension, stress, and illness. Usually, conflicts create highly charged emotions.

What is CRM?

CRM philosophy belongs to the culture of peace and peacemakers. Its mission is to promote peaceful, non-adversarial and non-violent dispute resolution in society.

CRM continuing interest is in contributing to the understanding of how to prevent destructive conflict and initiate cooperation.

CRM objective is to comprehend why do we react to conflict that way? CRM means is to provide applicable skills to cope, manage and resolve business and interpersonal conflicts in a peaceful manner, in order to influence our future relationships positively.

Reaction to conflict

So, why do we react to conflict in a certain manner? Where is it coming from?

How did we react to conflict at home? How have us been taught to react?
The social paradigm tells us that conditioning and conditions largely determine us. Paradigm are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world While we have acknowledged the tremendous power of conditioning our lives, however we cannot say that the phenomenon is irreversible.

Even though, our attitude toward conflict is mostly conditioned in our childhood, we can learn in adulthood how to raise our self-awareness and shift our set mind to manage our everyday and current conflicts.

The "bag" concept

The bag is a talkative image that paints the color of our emotional, rational cultural and experimental background. It represents the conscious and the unconscious part of ourselves that carry our lives. The bag creates the result of our action. It is the center of our values, beliefs, perceptions, motivations, self-awareness, self-consciousness and it helps us to detect our filters and be aware of our bias. Therefore, "I have to dig deep in my bag" to comprehend the different behaviors that I have when facing conflicts.

Conflict is neither good or bad

It is our reaction that is positive or negative toward conflict.

"Conflict is not good or bad it is the response that is positive or negative, good or bad. It is how we perceive conflict that makes it good or bad." Our reaction to conflict seems to be so deeply scripted in our "bag". The shift in our frame of references unfolds our endowment to focus on transforming our dispute perception.

Why CRM is a powerful tool?

It is a powerful tool because it deals with empowerment recognition and respect of values and differences between people.

CRM lies in the transformative vision and the pragmatic problem solving and encourages us to avoid misunderstanding and ultimately failure or distrust in our business and interpersonal relationships.

CRM concept perceives conflict as an opportunity for change. . It also develops comprehensive analysis of the vectors behind each dispute and resolves the issues in a peaceful, ethical, effective and responsive manner. CRM strong assets are to manage disputes in the middle of the conflict but also to prevent future conflicts.

CRM messages say that we are all different and unique. Our differences are enrichment. If we manage our differences with respect, any dispute can be resolved peacefully.

CRM perceives conflict as an opportunity for change

You may wonder what kind of change conflict might bring.

CRM has a transformative potential. When conflict is well managed it brings the change tangled at our underlying needs level. Managing conflict is a mean to transform the conflict into an opportunity for building bridges between people and readjustment in the relationships. This chance leads people to talk about their differences, to communicate their perceptions in order to find a resolution that belongs to them and only to them. The objective is to reach a win-win level where both are satisfied of the outcome. This resolution that induces the positive out come of the future relationship. CRM has a meaningful purpose because the reality of our current world is that we are growing in a broadening international and highly interdependent world. The world challenge of ethnic, cultural and business disputes rise our need to enhance effective communication. Besides, happiness and improvement concern all of us.

Do we have the tools to manage conflict?

Any one can learn how to manage conflict. Managing conflict is an accessible knowledge or process to any individual or organization that wish to see concrete results.

CRM knowledge is accessible to anyone. This knowledge encourages us to make a shift of our frame of references. The possibilities of experiences and interactions are immense if we want to grow. We can develop our business relationships, in a team, a department, management; but also in our family and personal relationships. Training and coaching are highly efficient tools and very enlightening to our understanding, our personal and organizational development. Mediation is a process that assists parties to resolve their conflicts.

CRM means: Training, Coaching, and Mediation

Training is designed to accelerate the experimental process. It makes trainees develop awareness of the effectiveness of conflict resolution skills and techniques and encourages its usage as a positive means for resolving disputes. Training can be valuable in giving trainees a clearer sense of their strengths and areas for improvement in their conflict resolving skills. Training can prevent destructive outcomes. It can defuse future crisis, neutralize the crisis mentality and analyze outcomes in order to develop effective options for resolving issues.

Sharing ideas, giving feed backs, opinions and insights is a highly effective practice to business and personal enlightenment. Coaching can assist deepen analyze, structure and resolve very specific issues to management.

Mediation is a voluntary and a confidential process whereby a neutral person, the mediator, assists the disputants in seeking a resolution to their dispute. In this procedure, the mediator has no authority to impose settlement or council. The resolution is found and belongs to the disputants. The mediator assists people to structure their talk, thoughts, and concerns. He supports them to unfold the deep layers involved in the conflict. He is the architect of the mediation movement, the guardian of the process.

Personal point of view

As a conclusion, I would like to explain why my work as consultant in CRM is my passion. I strongly believe that peace can change the world. Peace is like seeds that we, human being, have the responsibility to plant. History has brought models of peacemakers, the impact of their deeds are huge and undeniably part of our present and future.

As mediator and trainer myself, I would like to mention that CRM is a learning process with mutual benefit for the trainees, the disputants, any parties involved in conflict. Each individual is unique. According to me, in CRM the human dimension entitles synergy and expansion of self. Conflict resolution is an opportunity to teach, to learn, to give and understand human nature and minds. From the unconscious incompetent till the conscious competent there is a lifetime experience, willingness, self-awareness and compassion. My international experiences in different part of the world reveal me the underlying sensitivity entangled in each unique culture. I think that dialogue and understanding the differences between people without trying to make any value judgement is the secret of respect and growth. Respect of our differences and a deep perceptiveness of them is the key for a successful and sincere communication.

Written by:
Nariman Brahimi - Director
International Consulting Firm Brussels
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