This article aims to explain to you what conflict resolution is, when it can affect your organisation and why discovering and implementing the best methods of it is so vital to the well-being of individuals and the company as a whole.
The concept of conflict resolution is defined as the different processes which can be put in place to facilitate the ending of conflict in a peaceful manner. If resolved effectively, then conflict can sometimes have a positive effect on relationships in the workplace. However, if the problems are not dealt with successfully then the results can be damaging, and conflicting goals can quickly turn into personal dislike. This can lead to teamwork breaking down, and as people are distracted by this they begin to disengage from their work.
As negativity spreads and begins to involve large amounts of employees, it is important that you stop this downward spiral as soon as possible. To do this, it will help to know the following five different conflict resolution styles, developed by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann, for use in different situations:
- Competitive – This style will most greatly benefit those who are happy to take a firm stand and know what they want. If a decision needs to be made fast, or an issue resolved quickly, or simply if a decision is unpopular, then this straight to the point method is best.
- Collaborative – Using this technique will lead to you trying to meet the needs of everyone involved. When you need to bring together a variety of viewpoints to get the best solution, this is the method to use.
- Compromising – Some people are concerned about keeping everybody happy, or at least partially satisfying everyone. Everyone is expected to give up something, and this process is hugely beneficial if the conflict is at a standstill, or if there is a deadline looming.
- Accommodating – For use by people who are highly co-operative. Although it is a useful method when peace is more valuable than winning, it is unlikely to generate the most effective outcomes as it can lead to individuals surrendering a position even when it is not warranted.
- Avoiding – This style has only been included as it was part of the research, but it is a very ineffective approach to take. Although seeking to evade the conflict entirely can be warranted to an extent if, say, victory is impossible, but all it does in the long term is portray the individual as weak, and let any negative feelings fester.
If you believe that these methods of solving conflict may be needed in your organisation, then here are several places you should look to move towards having them implemented:
- Dr. Tammy Lenski can help you simplify problem solving and negotiate more successfully at work if a problem arises. She writes about conflict resolution in her blog.
- Elizabeth Scott is a wellness coach who writes about the most effective ways to resolve conflict on About.com.
- Train in a Day can deliver informational training courses to help members of your business better understand the different methods used to resolve conflict and the right times to take action.
by Tom Witcomb