conflictWednesday afternoon at ASSE’s Safety 2013 features a topic every safety professional deals with at some point or another, as described by the session title: “Conflict Management Strategies for the Real World.”

The presenters are from the definitely real world of construction: Patricia A. Kagerer, CSP, ARM, CRIS, CF Jordan Construction, Dallas, TX; and Grace Herrera, CF Jordan Construction, El Paso, TX.

The two women introduce five styles of conflict management, and explain when each mode is appropriate. Underutilizing or overusing any one mode can create an unwanted situation (the last thing you want in a confrontation situation). Participants undergo an assessment to learn their conflict style.

Here is some general advice on healthy ways to resolve conflicts:

● Have the capacity to recognize and respond to the things that matter to the other person

● Have calm, non-defensive and respectful reactions

● Be ready to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding resentments or anger

● Hold to the belief that facing conflict head-on is the best thing for both sides

Unhealthy responses to conflict:

● You do not possess the ability to recognize and respond to the things that are important and matter to the other person

● You have explosive, angry, hurtful and resentful feelings

● You distance yourself from the conflict and shut down emotionally, resulting in rejection of the other side’s case, trying to isolate or shame the other side, and you abandon all hope of finding a resolution

● You have an inability to compromise or see the other person’s point of view

● You are a pessimistic fatalist who expects conflicts to have bad outcomes