Dale Eilerman operates Conflict Solutions Ohio, LLC working with individuals and organizations to improve relationships and performance. He specializes in the dynamics associated with conflict management and provides clinical counseling, coaching, consultation, training, team-building, and conciliation work including mediation. Dale is a licensed clinical counselor and is the Director of Organizational Learning for a behavioral health organization in Dayton, Ohio. He is also a part-time instructor at the University of Dayton and Wright State University. Dale can be contacted at 937.219.4996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From Dale Dale Eilerman
I value the contribution that Mediate.com brings to those who seek and work for peace, justice and conflict resolution. The diversity of perspectives and topics demonstrates that there are many ways that we can contribute to improving the ways that we resolve our differences.
The Power Of 'And'
The word 'and' is short, but powerful. It connects as well as includes. It adds, rather than negates. The word 'and' provides energy in collaboration and contributes momentum toward synergy. This word enables people with differing perspectives to find common ground. This tiny word is one of the most important communication terms we can use when doing mediation.
The Significance of Emotional Engagement in Conflict Management
The ability to emotionally engage with an individual or group is a significant factor in establishing a constructive and helpful relationship. It is often the difference in whether an experience is perceived as positive or negative, regardless of the outcome. Engagement should be a fundamental course of action taken by professionals when addressing conflict management in the process of mediation, coaching, or counseling.
From Dale Eilerman
Congratulations on your 200th newsletter! I would like to share with you that Mediate.com has been instrumental to my "second career" in assisting individuals and groups learn to manage conflict constructively. I discovered Mediate.com while exploring the web in attempting to educate myself about mediation and conflict. It has since become my primary source of quality information on a range of conflict related topics. I decided that one way I could make a contribution to conflict management was by writing articles and submitting them for consideration of being published in Mediate.com. This has been rewarding in many ways, one of which is the number of visits that I get to my website from across the globe. I also have found a supportive "friend" in John Ford who has encouraged me to continue to write articles and develop my talents. I look forward to continued association with a fine organization.
The Art of Disagreement
Most of us would likely say that we do not care to be around disagreeable people. This choice of behavior is typically discouraged in organizations as being disruptive and unsettling. It can generate negative emotional reactions and a sense that the disagreeable person is being uncooperative and is not “on board”. However the act of disagreeing is essential to identify problems, provide contrary perspectives, consider alternatives and make changes. What we need to recognize is that there is a skill and “art” in offering a disagreement that plays an important part in the success in taking this position. It is not what is said, but how it is said.
Win/Win Solutions - The Role of Collaboration in Resolving Problems
Popular literature in the areas of leadership, management, organizational change, and personal/professional development frequently advocates for collaboration and win/win solutions when dealing with differences and solving problems. Some authors would suggest that we should always pursue this method of interacting. While collaboration is a desirable goal and has many positive aspects it may not always be the best approach to achieving desired outcomes. Understanding the role of collaboration in resolving problems can help to determine when to use this particular approach.
Agree to Disagree - The Use of Compromise in Conflict Management
The use of compromise is a common solution to resolving disagreements in negotiation and mediation processes. While it may produce an agreement, compromise does not always resolve problems that contain underlying interpersonal or organizational conflict. This is because compromise is frequently a "settled" resolution to a problem and not typically the optimal solution sought by either party. It may generate a functional or material solution but not resolve emotional or behavioral issues associated with the disagreement. As a result one or both parties in the dispute may continue to harbor ill feelings or other dissatisfaction that can surface again if the parties continue to have contact with each other.
The Use and Misuse of an Avoiding Style in Conflict Management
The conflict style profiles developed by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann portray "avoiding" as being low in assertiveness and low in cooperativeness. When using this conflict mode a person knows there is a conflict but decides not to deal with it by ignoring, sidestepping, being non-committal or withdrawing from the issue or interaction.
Give and Take - The Accommodating Style in Managing Conflict
Of the five conflict styles, accommodating or harmonizing, is viewed as the "peacekeeper" mode as it focuses more on preserving relationships than on achieving a personal goal or result. However in a dispute this creates a lose/win relationship where the accommodating party may make a choice to acquiesce to the needs of the other, sometimes out of kindness and sometimes to avoid conflict or stress. "Giving in" and letting the other person "take" is the result when this choice is made. While this may be seen as a weak or non-productive position there are situations when this approach is preferable and will gain more for a person than by taking a strong position. It can be both a productive and unproductive strategy in the "give and take" process.
The Use and Misuse of a Competing Style in Conflict Management
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument identifies five conflict styles - competing, compromising, collaborating, avoiding, and accommodating - and provides guidelines regarding when each is appropriate in conflict situations. The strategy of “competing” as a means of gaining power and control stems from early childhood and is reinforced throughout our years in school and college. Truly successful people develop the judgment and skills to use competitiveness effectively and appropriately.
Use of the Myers-Briggs Conflict Pairs in Assessing Conflict
The ability to recognize conflict triggers, understand interpersonal dynamics, and determine how to intervene in a conflict is essential in facilitating effective outcomes. These are components of the assessment phase of conflict management and are important first steps to take before moving into interventions. One of the best and most commonly used tools to assist in this process is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.
Conflict: Personal Dynamics and Choice
Many books and articles regarding conflict management spell out the costs of conflict and the potential benefits of constructively managing differences. They describe the knowledge needed, the skills to be developed, and outline steps and procedures to follow. This is helpful information but does not always speak to the personal dynamics that impact the choices people make regarding whether to avoid or deal with a conflict and the manner in which this is done.
Conflict: Cost and Opportunity
It seems that we are constantly confronted in the news media with the negativity and devastation associated with conflict. Death and destruction are the outcomes of wars and violent disputes raging in various parts of the world. The impact of the attacks on September 11, 2001 makes us fearful of the threat of terrorism in our country. Closer to home, we note on a daily basis problems with violence and property crime inflicted out of anger or revenge. While this type of conflict may engage our thoughts, feelings, and conversation, most of us believe that there is little that we can do to change these events.