Conflicts arise now and then in the business environment. Such rivalries cannot be avoided just by interacting with people energetically and productively. Do not be afraid, however. Though unavoidable, conflict situations can be resolved if you have the right skills and knowledge of effective mediation strategies. Any crisis is a way to reject the old and start something new!
Best Strategies for Conflict Resolution
Modern conflictology recognizes four main strategies for conflict resolution. Let us briefly describe them.
This strategy involves analyzing a conflict situation and making a decision at the meeting with the entire working team’s participation. The decision made by such an arrangement is final.
This strategy is much more flexible than the former one and includes a large number of possible solutions:
- Admission of guilt by one party;
- Judgment by a third party uninterested in the subject of the dispute;
- Increasing the distance between the conflicting parties;
- Introduction of rules of conduct that would eliminate the reason for the conflict;
- “Divide and conquer” principle;
- “Assigning of a scapegoat” – translation of discontent onto one person;
- “Lesser evil” method, etc.
In this strategy, credentials are distributed, job descriptions are prescribed, mechanisms are established to coordinate and integrate conflicting parties’ actions, a reward system is determined, and conflict behavior is designated as unacceptable. All these methods are designed to reduce the severity of the conflict.
Structural methods are:
- Assignment of the accountable manager – directive obstruction of the conflict;
- Separation of organizational parts;
- Introduction of subgroup division with a unifying center – a coordinator, for example
- Unit integration.
Blake and Mouton from Texas University devised this most recent conflict resolution strategy. Over several years it was proven to be successful and efficient. The interpersonal strategy establishes compromise and cooperation as the main goals of the conflict resolution process. Finding common grounds presupposes the conflict’s resolution on mutually beneficial terms, everyone’s requirements are met in part; everyone makes concessions to achieve peace.
This process does not imply forceful pressure. It is a deliberate decision of the two parties, which are ready to concede a part for the sake of ending the hostilities.
Conflict Resolution Tips
Next, let us provide some tips on how to implement conflict resolution strategies effectively:
- Choose a neutral location
Experience shows that by placing conflicting parties opposite each other, you risk escalating the conflict. The round table discussion or standing meeting, where parties can mingle, would smooth over the interaction.
- Start by acknowledging the achievements
Do not focus on the negative. There are no right or wrong sides; only people gathered to solve a common problem, right? Praise your opponent or both sides if you act as an unrelated mediator.
- Take your time with conclusions
The conflict’s leading cause may not become immediately apparent; sometimes, deeper motives are hidden behind the superficial reasons. In some cases, it may be obscure even for the participants themselves. Analyze the causes of conflict calmly and patiently, try to discover the root of the problem.
- Look for something in common
As they say, build bridges, not walls. Collaboration is by far the pinnacle of ways to resolve the conflict. Try to settle the controversial moments, considering the interests of the opposing parties, and acknowledging the value of people’s opinions.
- Do not escalate the rivalry
Try to refrain from sarcastic remarks, rudeness, and barbs, maintain dignity, and respect for the interlocutor. Forbearance and composure would certainly be appreciated by everyone who is present during the discussion.
The interpersonal strategy has only one disadvantage – it requires an experienced mediator, conflict resolution expert. Well, this is where CMA Consulting comes to the rescue. Our company provides training courses relevant for businesspersons, owners and managers of companies, departments, and individual employees; anyone who wishes to improve their communication skills. The main thing we teach in our conflict resolution training is the ability to meet every problem as a challenge, a way to establish new effective interactions.
No long-term human relations are conflict-free. This is just our nature. Any collective brings together different people with varying points of view, beliefs, and opinions, who cannot always come to a consensus on a whim. Nevertheless, a conflict is not only a confrontation but also a possibility for growth. Conflicts may happen between business partners, management and employees, the company and customers. What is important is not to avoid disagreements but to resolve them correctly and to the benefit of all the involved parties.