It is not a matter of avoiding conflict; the trick is to learn how to resolve it effectively.
In a team, different members come from different backgrounds and have different ideas, which can often lead to disagreements. That is not an issue. On the contrary, conflict can be healthy in workplace.
The issue arises when conflict is not handled efficiently because that is when it leads to toxic work environments. Here are five effective conflict resolution methods.
1. The Accommodating Approach
This is mostly effective when it is highly important to preserve the relationship with the person you might be conflicting with. In this case, it might be most useful to keep the other person happy especially if, as a business leader, you have more to lose than gain from “winning” this conflict. It is also important to consider that this kind of approach requires a lot of negotiating and it could take a while to reach a conclusion.
2. The Competitive Approach
This approach is the total opposite of what we’ve seen above. This is when business leaders go with the approach that “it’s my way or the highway” and while this is something that is frowned upon sometimes, it could be the case that this is the necessary approach in each situation. Imagine, for example, that there is a decision that needs to be taken very quickly and there is no time to spend discussing and negotiating with team members.
3. The Avoiding Approach
This is another approach that is sometimes frowned upon because it is always suggested that when there is conflict within the team you nip it in the bud and settle it as quickly as possible before it turns into a bigger problem. However, in situations when, for instance, tempers are flaring and people are angry, it might be wise to take a temporary step back and revisit the conflict when everyone has calmed down.
4. The Collaborating Approach
While this approach is encouraged, it is also necessary to note that this is very time-consuming and can only be used in long-term situations when all parties involved have enough time to sit down and talk things through. Although this method is ideal, one must also keep in mind that realistically speaking, one does not always have this much time on their hands, therefore, one might need to opt for a different solution.
5. The Compromising Approach
This is one of the most used conflict resolution approaches within the workplace as it requires all parties to give and take a little, which is ideal in a working environment, however, as per the examples mentioned in the points above, this method is not always possible to use.
While it’s good to recognise what your favourite style is, as a business leader you should also be comfortable using other conflict resolution approaches depending on the situation you are in, and on the people you are dealing with.
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