Conflict management

Most of us avoid conflict, mainly because it makes us feel really uncomfortable, and it can lead to any number of fears coming up in our brains….

But imagine how much easier life would be if you no longer felt the need to avoid situations just in case any conflict arose?

Well there are 7 main ways that people can manage conflict, but they are definitely not all equal!

Some will lead to more productive outcomes, but some are sometimes needed just to move forwards from difficult situations.

The crumble

Where one party just gives up

The benefits

  • The "winner" has a temporary gain

The challenges

  • The "winner" has probably damaged any hope of future collaborations
  • The "loser" has taken a knock to their confidence, and probably made a decision not to work with the other party ever again

The unilateral decision

In this technique, the person who holds the ultimate responsibility just makes a decision, and everyone else has to go along with it.

The benefits

  • It shows resolve and direction
  • It reduces time spent on discussion and moves to action

The challenges

  • It can cause people to rebel or sabotage the decision if they don't agree or understand
  • It can have long term impacts on the ability of the decision maker to effectively lead

The arm twist

Using your powers of influence to persuade the other party that your way is the only way

The benefits

  • It's free, it only needs your powers of persuasion

The challenges

  • It will only work with certain types of people in certain situations
  • Success is usually pretty low
  • It can lead to longer term resentment from the other party

The deal

This is where you both offer and counter offer - it is not a negotiation in its true form though

The benefits

  • You will get some form of agreement

The challenges

  • You will both definitely have to sacrifice something

The intervention

In this, an independent third party comes in and mediates between the 2 different parties to come to a satisfactory solution

The benefits

  • A third independent perspective can be really useful
  • There's a pretty high success rate

The challenges

  • You might lose out, its 50/50 whether it goes your way or not

The delaying tactic

In this both parties walk away for a while, before coming back to continue the conversation

The benefits

  • Allows both parties to cool off a bit and become less defensive
  • Allows both parties the opportunity to think about things from different perspectives

The challenges

  • Its not immediately being dealt with, so it can grow worse in the mind of either or both parties
  • Allows both parties the time to build up their ammunition for their own argument without having an open mind

The collaboration

Where both sides work together to make a bigger success than either would have made alone

The benefits

  • Negotiation - if you…. then I….
  • Win/win solution with good benefits for both

The challenges

  • Both sides have to be willing and go in with an open mind
  • Both sides may lose something - but it should be pretty insignificant or unimportant for them 

If we're totally honest, the collaboration would be the ideal resolution in most situations, so getting better at seeing the other perspective, and building on it, should be a target for all of us.

For more conflict management tips download my free resource here