Seven Ways to Effectively Resolve a Conflict in the workplace

People come from different backgrounds and have different personalities and opinions. This could explain why living harmoniously is not always the situation as conflict could arise at any time.

Knowing how to resolve a disagreement is important as conflict, especially in the workplace could lower your productivity resulting in a decreased turnover.  

How conflict is resolved depends on the situation, people involved and the relationship you have with them. There are different methods of conflict resolution but first, 

What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement. Its objective is to encourage both parties to reconcile their differences and find common ground.

Types of conflict resolution styles

When trying to resolve a conflict the elements of a person’s behaviour determine which of the five methods to use. These are:

  • Assertiveness: the extent to which you try to satisfy your own concerns.
  • Cooperativeness: the extent to which you try to satisfy other people’s concerns.

Here are 5 types of conflict resolution styles

Competing style (assertive and uncooperative)

This style is usually used when you are trying to stand up for yourself, defending something you believe in or time is a factor.

Competing style is when you use your authority to pursue your own concerns over someone else’s. Your goal is to win.

Collaborative style (assertive and cooperative)

In this type of conflict resolution style, you take the time to listen and understand the other person’s concerns. You work together to find the underlying issues and find a mutually beneficial solution.

Compromising style (assertive and cooperative)

This style is more of 50/50 in that you find a solution that partially works for both parties but is not fully acceptable to either. 

Avoiding style (unassertive and uncooperative)

As the word suggests, this type of style is when you choose to avoid the situation completely and choose not to resolve the situation. 

Accommodating style(unassertive and cooperative)

This style is the opposite of the competing style, here you let the other person win. You put the other person’s concerns before yours. 

Why should you resolve conflict?

  • To get to know and understand people from different backgrounds, beliefs and ideas separate from yours.
  • To continue to nurture and grow existing relationships.
  • Most importantly, for peace of mind.

How should you resolve conflicts?

  • Understand the conflict

You can never solve something you don’t understand. When resolving a conflict rely on your position and interest then try and understand the other party. 

  • Communicate with the opposition

Listen to their opinions, don’t be fast to judge, explain your opinions, try to be flexible and don’t overreact.

  • Brainstorm on different resolutions

Once you understand both sides look for solutions that can be mutually beneficial or that you can meet halfway.

  • Choose the best resolution

From your brainstorming list, choose a resolution that works for both parties. You can also agree to disagree

  • Use a third party

Some disagreements require a third party. Not all conflicts can be solved by the two parties. Some require another party that is unbiased and fair on both sides 

  • Explore other alternatives

At times not all conflicts can be resolved. Looking for alternatives options for example putting yourself in your opposition’s shoes could help you come up with alternative solutions.

  • Cope with stressful situations and pressure tactics

Not all negotiations may go your way. You need to remember to keep your cool, don’t get angry and avoid making rash decisions.

Sources: Harvard, Harvard, the balance, fellow, CTB

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