How to handle conflicts for success

There are different statements in the business environment, defining conflicts in a range from destructiveness to constructiveness for progress. People often enter in situations where the conflict is something usual, but often these same people don’t know how to react and instead of use conflict for progress, they force the destructive side of the conflict.

Conflicts in the business environment have colorful nature. They can be caused by personal clashes, misunderstandings, differences in values, poor communication, misuse of power, feelings of injustice, treatment perceived as unfair etc.

Some of the conflicts are easier to be solved than others. Part of them can be solved with simple straightforward intervention, but in other situations you will need the help of an external to the conflict person.

Nonmatter where in the world, people have typical responses to the conflict. Most common of these responses are:

1. Avoiding –  One side in the conflict decides to not participate and leave with the consequences.

2. Giving in – Let other party in the conflict to decide what the solution will be, nonmatter what the prize and the consequences  for you.

3. Smoothing – Compromising that can leave one or both sides neither happy.

4. Arguing – Opportunity for each of the parties in the conflict to present and discuss arguments in favor of his thesis and position.

5. Solving together – Working with other parties to find best balanced solution of the conflict.

People often use one or more approaches to solve a conflict situation.  What approach they will use, depends on the nature of the conflict. But the best approach is still to cultivate behaviors which enables you to adopt the working together approach and resolve conflict with the other side.

These 5 approaches can be further structured in groups, according to the level and type of reaction they produce. Bellow you will find a simple group classification of the conflicts: 

1. Passive response of the conflict

Here you will find Avoiding and Giving-in approaches.

2. Engagement in the conflict

This group includes Smoothing and Arguing as approaches to solve the conflicts. People using these approaches are often more engaged in the conflict solving process. They prepare arguments, classify them, present them in front of the other parties involved and defend their positions in line with the arguments presented.

3. Productive collaboration

This group includes the last of the 5 approaches simply called Solving together.

This approach is a complex change of the parties involved in the conflict. All involved parties must work first on building a complex solving mindset and then start working together on the conflict. This is achieved when parties, involved in the conflict, can understand different options and solutions and agree to work on them together to come out with the best possible solution.

As a complex approach, Solving Together moves through 5 stages: 

 – Gaining clarity – at this stage parties must work on clarifying what is the nature of the current conflict

 – Other people shoes – Go clear on the different parties’ perspectives in the conflict.

 – Your view –  Each party should be ready to present his/her own views and put his/her perspective forward for discussion and analysis.

 – Possible resolutions – By possible, you must understand acceptable for all parties. If you want to solve a complex conflict you must present a balanced solution giving all the parties involved the same filling of relieve and resolution. This step often involves parties into discussion on different options they can both accept.  

 -Progress agreement – After agreeing on the best solution, parties must also bring another agreement on the table. This agreement is the “Move forward agreement”. To save time in similar situations or minimize impact of conflicts, parties involved must agree on level of tolerance, possible ways of reaction to different situations and conflicts, information they will have to collect and present when a conflict arises.   

IN CONCLUSION:

There is no straightforward way to solve a conflict. In real life there are conflicts we can handle with one or more approaches. The conflict handling approach is only defined by the amount of effort we are ready to invest in the conflict solving process and the consequences we are ready to face with our decision. Next time when you argue about how a conflict has impacted your life, think whose responsibility was to solve the conflict and what did this person do.

Did I make you think on this?….Hope your answers is YES…

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