Conflict management is the practice of being able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly and efficiently.
Every company needs to have experts in conflict management since conflicts in a business are a natural part of the workplace. Conflicts arise for many reasons, but they are not unusual, especially when competitive employees strive to illustrate their value.
In other words, conflict are inevitable. How a leader handles employee conflicts can have significant consequences for the employee, the manager and the company in general. Many authorities on this topic believe there are five very different approaches that are commonly seen when it comes to conflict resolution.
When the conflict involves one or more managers, a collaborating approach may be most beneficial. With this approach, managers become partners or pair up with each other to achieve both of their goals in this style this allows leaders to break free of the win-lose paradigm and seek the win-win. This can be effective for complex scenarios where managers need to find a novel solution.
On the other end of usefulness, an avoidance conflict management style does no one any good. This type of conflict style does not help the other staff members reach their goals and does not help the manager who is dodging the issue and cannot assertively pursue his or her own goals.
An approach that falls between avoidance and collaborating is the accommodating style. The type of manager who follows this methodology is one who cooperates to a high degree. This approach is most effective when the other person is the expert or has a better solution. The downside is that this style may be at the manager’s own expense and actually work against that leader’s objectives, goals and desired outcomes.
The competing style of conflict management usually finds a manager acting in a very assertive way to achieve his or her own goals without seeking to cooperate with other employees. These actions could also be at the expense of other employees. This approach is not recommended but it may be appropriate for emergencies when time is of the essence.
The biggest lose-lose method is the compromising approach where neither person nor manager really achieves what they want. This requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation. However, this style may be appropriate for scenarios where you need a temporary solution or where both sides have equally important goals.
Want to know more about conflict management? Tonex offers Conflict Management Training, a 2-day workshop style training program where participants learn the causes of conflict and how to prevent issues before they escalate.