I looked at the resolution conflict model and compared it to my own methodology

I do like challenging discussions with people and love to get into “disagreements” with people who are level-headed. I have had to leave conversations where the other person is not being cool-headed, but other than that I enjoy thought provoking conversations.

When I am passionate about a topic, I do find that in a debate, I get a little defensive. I think this is just my internal frustrations coming to a head because in the middle of the heat, I forget almost all pertinent information that I need in the debate, so you can understand that is quite angering. I have realized this, and now will tell them that I will have to go home and look over the research I have found, or I will usually pull it up on my phone. You can never be too thankful for prompts!

When talking small talk, I find its easy to have a conversation even though we disagree. Just the other day, a lady and I had 30 minute conversation volleying ideas and debating each other on a subject we were both passionate in. We ended the conversation laughing and coming to the conclusion that our different views, feelings and stances really complimented the other.

I plan to use this information from the TFD test and apply it to my life. With the PUGSS model, this really helps give me an outline of having a debate. describing the problem first, then coming to an understanding, identifying the goals for that conversation, brainstorming the solutions (because two minds are more efficient than one), and then together selecting the best solution. I love this model, and one I had not previously followed. I will put this in my notes on my phone and utilize it in my next disagreement!

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I scored a 53 on the Tolerance for Disagreement Scale. I agree with the results. I am not one to shy away from a conversation simply because there is disagreement. I am a proponent of a dissenting point of view. There are moments when clarity is brought about through civil and robust discourse, including disagreement. We all have our beliefs and biases, that is the composition of our ideology. Sometimes, an opposing point of view can shed light on an issue, other times it may spark the fuse that light passions on fire. Regardless of the outcome, everyone needs a chance to speak and everyone needs to listen. Closed minds never learn. Agree, disagree or in the words of the late great Dr. Stephen Covey, “agree to disagree agreeably.”

I certainly do not lack the ability to make small talk. I am approachable and I can strike up a conversation with just about any willing participant. I can disagree, even with someone I have just met. This is perhaps one of the best scenarios for disagreement. I think it brings out the etiquette that is lacking when we are dealing with people (family and friends) who we know well. And I do have a tolerance for an opposing point of view. It is kind of a “tit for tat” thing with me. I respect your point of view, please respect mine. Today, there seems to be a very low threshold for tolerance in the world.

The PUGSS scale is brand new to me. I am seeing it here for the first time. It certainly has a logical, straightforward approach that if applied correctly would arguably yield positive results. The realist in me believes that regardless of this clever approach, we often revert to our inner character traits when resolving conflict. Having said that, the request was to “discuss how you could research and improve your interpersonal communication and your approach to conflict.”

So, I looked at the resolution conflict model and compared it to my own methodology. I see no real differences. I am an individual made up of my life’s experiences and training. Most of my training has been professional. I have gained my conflict resolution skills primarily from work. I already apply the PUGSS model, albeit in my own way. Since I work in a very technical area, we are routinely faced with solving some pressing issues. There is no room for egomaniacs in this kind of environment. And since the issues are almost always technical (and not philosophical), the solution tends to be definitive, i.e., less nebulous in nature. We always begin with a problem statement and work to understand its impact on the business. The goal is basically to solve a problem (eliminate risk, reduce operating cost, boost profits) in a specific window of time. The solutions end of the model is where the team’s creative minds work, sometimes harmonious, sometimes a bit clumsy. I take this same approach in my personal life. Married couples cannot possibly agree on everything 100% of the time. The “U” in the PUGSS model probably best represents a compromise. Which is something both my wife and I practice often. This is a critical step towards solving the problem.

The PUGSS model is a good model that many like me, unwittingly apply to conflict resolution. Nevertheless, I will make a conscious effort to think about the model when approaching my next conflict.

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I scored a 54 on the TFD which indicates a high level of tolerance for disagreement. Five years ago I don’t think I would have scored as high, and if I did, I definitely would think the scale lacked some validity. Now, I agree that my tolerance is pretty high. This is due in part to living in a side of humanity that most look at and judge from afar, and then picking myself back up in a place where I feel no one agrees with anything I believe most of the time. The downfall is however, I actually believe that my high tolerance for disagreement hinders my abilities for small talk. The vast majority of the time I find myself engaging in small talk I’m ready to run far, far away. This could be because I feel like small talk is a way to navigate potential disagreements, (or maybe I just over analyze everything but I digress.) When a developing conversation flips to small talk I often feel it is a defense mechanism to negate any potential opposition. The fear of disagreement is a huge weakness in communication, and when we back down from it, it can be hard to make any progress.

I do believe that my high tolerance for disagreement is essential in resolving conflict. In our upcoming speech I talk about the one thing that all people have in common, the need to be understood and validated. When one has a high tolerance for disagreement, it is easier to take the perspective of the other person and work to resolve things in a way that is beneficial to both parties.

P-U-G-S-S is super helpful in that it creates a clear route and a solution-focused mindset in solving conflicts. All too often I think people get stuck in the very beginning of this model. For example, “Is the problem that the people of Flint, MI deserve clean water no matter the cost? Is the problem that they don’t have it? Is the problem the way it was ruined in the first place? Is the problem with the city, or the state, or the federal government? etc.” Describing the problem thoroughly leaves less room for any outlying factors to be brought into the debate and thus, take us further from a solution. Once an understanding has been identified it’s easier to figure out what the real goal is. I relate this to the relationship between me and my parents. We never see eye to eye politically, but over the years we have realized through many toxic arguments that we almost always have the same end goals, we just never clearly defined the problem and tried to work together using our different perspectives as strengths instead of weaknesses. Once this understanding is created and we have established the root problem, we realize that we can come together and use our differences to brainstorm many different solutions until we are able to decide on one that works best for everyone.

Obviously it is important to keep in mind that there isn’t always one “right” solution, and we will often run into situations that there may be trouble even identifying the problem. However, P-U-G-S-S is a great tool to use to bring people on opposing sides of conflict together to reach a unified (or unified as possible) solution. Interestingly enough, the PUGSS model follows relatively closely with the method I will be suggesting in our upcoming speech about co cultural communication.

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