It is almost certain that at some point you will find yourself in the middle of a conflict. It may be surprising for you to learn that there is more to a conflict than just two people arguing over a given issue. We shall take a look at the different types of conflicts and share a few strategies that will hopefully lead to a successful resolution.
First though, what is a conflict? A conflict generally consists of at least two individuals that can’t agree on a given matter. Despite common beliefs, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A conflict, as long as it isn’t too extreme can motivate us to think, be creative and stay on top of our game.
There are two basic forms of conflicts. A work related conflict and a personal conflict. These two categories are quite easy to understand. The core of the work related conflict is a problem regarding a project, a task or any other work related assignment. A personal conflict is a form of conflict in which the core issue is a personal matter between the parties involved in the conflict.
The step you must take in order to resolve the conflict involves yourself. You must ask yourself, and try to answer as objectively as you can – “How important is my goal and how important is the other person’s goal?” Once you have an answer there are five strategies you can use.
1. Imposing your will at all costs
This strategy is only recommended when your goal is of the upmost importance and not getting your way simply isn’t an option. You will do anything to get your way. This strategy is effective in an emergency situation when a quick decision is needed and immediate action is required. The main downside is that you can only really use this strategy once, using it constantly on the same people won’t work.
2. Giving up on your agenda and compromising
Here you will allow the other party to have his or her way or at least allow him to get most of his goals. Even if it comes the expense of your goals. This strategy is effective if the other party may lose control if he doesn’t get his way. You may also choose this strategy if you need to reduce tension and keep people happy. Obviously if it is clear that your agenda isn’t as significant you should compromise and enjoy the benefits a compromise brings. However, also here, you can’t constantly compromise or you will be seen as a weak person.
3. Avoiding the issue
Here you decide to ignore the problem and just not deal with it at all. This means both sides give up on getting their way. It’s basically a lose lose situation. Only use this strategy if the issue is of very little importance to both sides and just isn’t worth sorting out.
4. A favourable compromise
Here both sides give up slightly on their agenda and the and agree on a fair compromise. Each side gets part of their agenda. This strategy is effective when the issue at hand is of equal importance to both sides and both sides have similar power. The problem with this strategy that immediately trying to find a compromise may lead to you missing out on a better solution.
This is the best possible outcome. Here you do your best to let the other party have his way while still getting yours. It’s a win win situation. This strategy is effective when both sides can gain from the cooperation and both sides have a common goal just different ways of achieving it. Cooperation is especially important when both sides are locked in a long term relationship, be it a business relationship or a personal one.
So there you have it. That’s conflicts in a nutshell. Hopefully this will come in handy when you find yourself in the middle of a conflict. Remember to consider how important a given issue is for you, and step into the other side’s shoes in order to see things from their point of view. Once you’ve done this you can choose a suitable conflict resolution strategy.