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Narrative mediation

Disagreement in any interpersonal relationship is a sure thing. People disagree over small and petty things as well as in major issues. Conflicts are natural and will always be there as long as individuals remain different in terms of culture, personality and character. It is however, the management of these disagreements and conflicts that determines whether any such relationship shall remain strong and live to wither future conflicts. A number of people whenever conflicts arise tend to either ignore it or fight it out in a violent manner.

Others will look beneath the surface for a scapegoat and buck passing without focusing at the core of the conflict. Conflict management remains one single strength that drives relationships to greater heights and ensures that they last long. Effective conflict management whether in an organization or in an interpersonal relationship must encompass an aspect of cooperation between the parties involved, negation as well as being able to strike a compromise. This however is based on the assumption that both parties are willing and committed to seeing the relationship prosper.

The first stage in resolving and managing a conflict is for both parties to agree on a particular time when they can come together to iron out the differences. It is important that both parties appreciate that there is a conflict no matter which party feels aggrieved. Chest thumping or playing ‘ever right’ will only escalate the conflict. On the mediation or their negotiation table, it is important that only one issue or topic be handled at a time. If there are a number of issues to be discussed, it is wise to start with the least sensitive up to the most sensitive so as to increase the level of interaction as time goes by (Harriet G. L. , 16).

In discussing these issues, both parties should avoid griping or hurling blame at each other. It ends up diverting attention from the issue at hand. Past problems should not also be brought into the current disagreement, only the present row should be handled. It is important that when a conflict arises, both parties recognize that it does in no way mean that the relationship is coming to an end, but that it is just a challenge that has to be overcome if the relationship is to sail through. However they should have in mind that any disagreement if not handled well has a potential of blowing up and ending the relationship.

Conflicts normally arise out of differences in opinions. Those different opinions are as a result of differences in personalities. It is hence important that when managing a conflict, both parties be ready to reach a compromise. After the parties have come to an agreement on what the source of the conflict is, they should both lay their demands on the change they would like to witness. It is only wise that such a change be reasonable and be within their limits. This is in the assumption that both parties are yearning for the same objective, only pursuing different strategies.

This is in the negotiation stage where both parties will voice their concerns and demands and they should both be ready to accept an alternative. If what one party is demanding is not available, or would lead to other conflicts, it is important that another alternative be considered and both individuals reach a compromise on what is available. Compromise does not mean that an individual loses out on the key objective of the relationship, but it means that one accepts the second best alternative that can be offered (Fisher, R. U. & Patton, B, 10).

It is essential that both parties appreciate that they have a roe lot play in resolving the conflicts and striking a compromise is one way rather than claiming that they are right and others are wrong. This stretches to all conflicts whether in interpersonal relationships or in organizations. A conflict should be viewed as an opportunity to learn, it should all be about turning an obstacle into a challenge. Atimes, whether in an organization or in relationship, should a conflict escalate, it is prudent to involve a third party to mediate and help patch the differences.

Such a mediator should be impartial and be able to guarantee both parties a level of confidentiality. It is this mediator then who will lead the individuals involved through the different phases of conflicts management (Wins lade, J. & Monk G, 22). Conflicts are bound to arise as long as people are uniquely opinionated. In managing any conflict, both parties should focus at the positives and not dwell so much on the negatives. Any forum meant to resolve a conflict should not be about who is right or who is wrong but rather should focus on tracing the middle path.

This can be done through the incorporation of the three components of conflict management; cooperation, negotiation and compromise. It is these three that will determine the successful resolution of any conflict.

Works Cited

Harriet Goldhor Lerner. The dance of anger. Harper & Row. 1985; 9-21 Fisher, R. Ury. & Patton, B. getting to Yes; Negotiating agreement without giving in (2nd ed) Penguin Books, 1991; 16 Wins lade, J. & Monk G. Narrative mediation: A new approach to conflict resolution. San Francisco. Jossey – Bass Publishers. 2001; 23

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