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The Positive Outcomes Blog

Conflict Activity Tool: Tips for Communicating with Tact and Finesse

Three Types of Communication

Assertive - “I” statements, expresses ideas without violating or putting down others,

honest and self-respecting while respecting others, direct but tactful

Aggressive - “You” statements, expresses own rights at expense of others, intent

to humiliate, to “get even,” puts others down, honest without tact

Non-Assertive - Avoids conflict at all costs, lets others “take over”, fear of not being

liked, afraid of conflict, lacks confidence, fearful of disapproval


The Two Sides of Conflict

The Good Side When Handled Effectively The Bad Side When Handled Ineffectively

One is part of the solution One is part of the problem

Increased productivity Decreased productivity

Leads to positive change Leads to negative change

Increases awareness of self & others Leads to limited self/other awareness

Leads to growth Leads to inflexibility and rigidity

Increases self- esteem Decreases self-esteem

Creates camaraderie and morale Lowers morale and teamwork

One learns forgiveness and tolerance One bears grudges and is resentful

Respectful of others Disrespectful of others

You have self control Others control you

Leads to group cohesiveness, “we” focus Leads to group splintering


Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Conflict

Don’t Do

Get in a power struggle, overpower Maintain self control while helping

Try to change others Change the way you react

Say “you” statements Use “I” statements

Get hostile Be Forgiving

Focus on the person Focus on the problem

“Awfulize” Look at things rationally

Look for the bad in others Look for the good in others

Hold grudges Forgive, heal resentments

Be defensive Be open-minded and flexible

Be part of the problem Be part of the solution

Judge others Be accepting of others

Be sarcastic Use Humor

Act impulsively Be response-able!

Credit - Judith Belmont, M.S., L.P.C.

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