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  • kai peter stabell

Personal Strategies for Conflict Resolution

You will often be party to a conflict, and learning to navigate it effectively can be key to our success in both professional and personal settings. Chris #Argyris and Donald #Schon developed the Left Hand Column/Right Hand Column (LH/RH) tool to help us recognize how we react in certain situations. There are also a few other tools that can help us become better at knowing ourselves in conflict situations. Let’s take a closer look.



The LH/RH Tool

The LH/RH tool is based on the idea that our unconscious responses—the ones that come out without any conscious thought—can often be more telling than those we choose after reflecting on a situation. With this tool, you start by writing down what your initial reaction was when faced with a conflict—your left-hand column. Then, you think about how you would respond if you had taken the time to reflect on the situation before reacting—your right-hand column. Analyzing both columns can help you understand why your initial response was what it was, and give you insight into your behavior during conflicts. This knowledge can then be used to improve your future reactions.


The Johari Window Tool

Created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955, the #JohariWindow tool helps us gain insight into how others perceive us as well as what we know about ourselves but don’t necessarily share with others. It divides self-awareness into four quadrants: open self, hidden self, blind self, and unknown self. This tool helps us understand how much of ourselves we are willing to share with others and which parts of our identity remain hidden from them—both consciously or unconsciously. Knowing this information can help us approach conflicts from an informed perspective so that we can make decisions that will benefit all parties involved.


The Thomas #Kilmann Instrument

This five-point scoring system helps identify one's preferred style of dealing with conflict situations by assessing five different modes of action: competing (assertiveness), collaborating (cooperation), compromising (collaboration), avoiding (withdrawal), or accommodating (yielding). Analyzing these different approaches can help us identify our go-to strategies for navigating conflicts and provide insight into which methods may be most effective in each situation.


Figure Out Your Triggers Tool

Conflict triggers are moments when something sets off an emotional response within us that causes us to act impulsively rather than reflectively; they are typically negative emotions like fear, anger, or sadness caused by either external or internal events or stimuli. Understanding these triggers is key to becoming aware of our behaviors during conflict so that we can take appropriate action instead of allowing our emotions to dictate our response every time something sets off a trigger within us. Once identified, triggers can be managed through reflection and awareness so they no longer control our behaviors when confronting conflict situations head-on.


In conclusion, knowing yourself in a conflict situation is essential for optimizing outcomes for everyone involved because it allows for more thoughtful responses that take into account all perspectives instead of just one side’s point of view. Utilizing tools such as the Left Hand Column/Right Hand Column tool, the Johari Window tool, the Thomas Kilmann Instrument, and Figure Out Your Triggers tool can provide invaluable insights into who we are as people in order to help prevent impulsive reactions from taking over when faced with difficult situations like interpersonal conflicts. By understanding ourselves better through these tools and techniques, we become better equipped to find solutions instead of fueling tensions during times of disagreement or disharmony between two parties.

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