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Three ways to fight fair

How to fight fair
How to fight fair
CC BY Trix0r (Flickr)

People sometimes avoid resolving conflict because it feels like a losing proposition. If people approach a conflict with the feeling that they are being wronged or something isn’t fair, they won’t stand a chance of finding a resolution. To resolve conflict, there must be a meeting of the minds as to what is fair. Here are three tips to understanding fairness and compromise.

What is fairness?

Is it equality? Playing by the same rules? Is it morality based? When a child believes something to be unfair, what are they really saying? Is the feeling one of betrayal? Hurt? Frustration? Rick Riordan said, “Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.” Knowing what fairness means to everyone involved is the first step to resolving conflict.

What is being lost by compromise?

Is it the notion of "being right"? To resolve a conflict someone has to win, right? Remove the labels of "winning" and "losing" in order to find solutions. Don’t view the conflict as a battle between two people. No one wins in that scenario.

Counting to ten never hurt anyone

People can’t control their feelings, but they can control whether they act on an emotion. Take time to understand what the problem really is. What are the real reasons behind certain feelings? Did a coworker really say something offensive or is an earlier argument with a spouse the real issue?

For a successful compromise, know what is fair, give up the idea of winning, and take time to understand feelings.

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