"The skills required for conflict management are simple, but they rarely are acquired as part of growing up. Learn them and use them" (Mayer, 1990, 58). The consensus in the professional literature is that if we are to become competent managers of interpersonal conflicts, skills in two arenas must be mastered:
· conceptual arena
· skill competence arena
Conceptual skills. The first arena is conceptual: an individual must understand conflict's causes, styles, strategies, tactics, and world-views. An individual must understand theories of how and why conflicts arise, where and when conflicts habitually occur, and the range of strategies and tactics that may be utilized to manage conflict.
Skill competence. The
second arena is skill competence. In addition to understanding
communication and conflict theory, an individual must become competent
in a variety of basic communication skills and develop a working
repertoire of conflict management skills. A lengthy [list of abilities
and tactics] can be specified for advanced conflict management.
However, two basic communication skills are required if parties hope
to manage conflict productively:
Individuals new to conflict management should work first to enhance basic communication skills. Wilmot & Hocker suggest some basic skills for conflict managers. More advanced assessment tools follow these basic skills.
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