Conflict Management

“See the forest through the trees”

Conflict within a relationship may be frustrating, but is it really worth the incredible effort required to tackle it? Ask yourself; what is the cost of conflict avoidance or incompetent conflict resolution skills? The cost of conflict incompetence is a poisoned relationship… poisoned by anger, fear, defensiveness, negativity, hurt and embarrassment, combined with misunderstanding and distrust, which will weaken individual morale and obviously strain the relationship. This poison just doesn’t remain stagnant. It festers into a boil that mars even the most beautiful of intimacies. Lastly, what does conflict avoidance say about a man, his leadership ability, and his relationship fitness?

Men as leaders can manage conflict and improve an emotionally hostile situation, by learning to replace destructive behaviors with constructive behaviors, while seeing past the immediate issue for the impact it has on the course of the relationship. Doing so men will see a difference in how a specific conflict plays out and how conflicts generally apply within their relationships overall.

Determining the context

One of the utmost decisions you will have regarding a conflict is determining the time and place of it. Even if the conflict is thrust upon you, as a man, it is your role to determine the appropriateness and timing of it. If the context isn’t appropriate, or the emotions are getting out of control, it is essential to delay, postpone or defuse the mounting tension before carrying on. This can be as simple as calling a momentary time-out, defusing the tension by bringing the bigger picture into scope and highlighting shared emotional consideration and re-affirming emotional security by doing so, or postponing the conflict discussion until a later defined date. With regards to postponing the conflict, be sure to set a specific time frame and context in which you will discuss the conflict issue. This isn’t a dismissal, but a genuine acknowledgement that an issue needs to be addressed, but now, is not the time and place to discuss it. This is very much a form of boundary setting and needs to be treated and viewed as such. A partner unwilling to do so, is being disrespectful of you and the relationship. It is equally important for you to be seen following through on your promise to re-engage at the previously agreed upon time. Do not wait for the time to arrive and have your partner initiate the discussion. Be a man about it. Control the timing, context and the initiation of the conflict discussion, as promised. Realize that this is a form providing emotional security, for both of you, as well as the relationship.

Setting the tone

As a man and a leader you will be tasked with setting the tone of the conflict, through leading by example. Emotionally deterred leaders are poor ones. Letting emotions run-away is a sure sign of a failed leadership and a general fitness test in a man. This doesn’t mean you can’t respond emotionally when and where appropriate and justifiable, but getting pulled ‘off-sides’ with regards to emotional escalation with your partners behavior or emotions isn’t acceptable. You simply lose credibility as a man and as a competent leader while tarnishing your established image. At these moments, what are you emotionally telling your partner? What is her emotional take-away from the situation? It’s one thing to develop your brand when selling to the client, it’s another when dealing with an issue on the back-end in customer service. It’s not enough just to choose your words wisely, but you need to establish and control the tone of the conflict as well.

Taking perspective

As with any conflict there tends to be a critical mass of emotions surrounding a perceived failed expectation, and the issue at hand may only be a symptom of it, not the underlying cause or motivator for the conflict. For this reason, it is incredibly important to try to understand the other person’s point of view and more importantly where they are coming from emotionally. Focus on their words and behaviors, not your assumptions. Asking yourself, or more importantly, asking them, “why do you think that?”, can open the doors to a greater understanding of what the real issue is to them. Learning to actively listen to the other person with the intent of understanding rather than debating. It is important that your partner be fully heard, don’t interrupt, let them finish what they are saying, then summarize their points of view regarding the conflict BEFORE presenting your ideas and opinions.

Discussing emotions

There is a remarkable difference between ‘discussing emotions’ and ‘expressing emotions’. While emotions will surely be at the core of a conflict, letting emotions get away from one another and getting caught up in the moment emotionally will be severely detrimental. It is immensely better to discuss emotions in a forthright, appropriate manner, rather than have pent-up emotions expressed uncontrollably. To properly address emotions, make sure that the emotions being expressed is helpful, is specific and reflects your point of view, such as using the phrase “I feel”, “I am frustrated because” etc.. Refrain from using words or terms that project blame, condescension or judgment.

Creating solutions

Today’s man is expected to showcase leadership skills that have vastly heightened sense of emotional intelligence with regard to collaboration skills, consensus achievement, team building and forging strong personal connections throughout the conflict process, especially in this Sexual Market Place. It is for these reasons, it is best to jointly review the underpinnings of the conflict and together propose and chart changes of patterns of communication, held expectations, defining emotional promises and agreed upon behaviors associated with resolving the conflict. Woe be it to any man who relies on the age-old patriarchy leadership skill of alpha dominance to ‘resolve’ a dispute. The likely outcome will be an emotional insurgency by your partner that will ultimately be resolved when she act upon her natural hypergamy to fortify her failing sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-respect, by spreading herself for an emotionally intelligent alpha cock who ‘gets her’. …and yes, he will, no doubt repeatedly, as sex with women tends to follow those that hold their emotions.

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