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Take first step to resolve a Conflict

Here’s a list of sample questions that you can use to resolve conflicts in your team.

  • What would you like to see happen?
  • What would it take for us to be able to move forward?
  • Are you willing to share the impact this has had on you?
  • What ideas do you have that would meet both our needs?
  • Can you tell me about that?
  • What about this situation is most troubling to you?


Conflict Resolution Styles

  • Confront

This is the conflict resolution style in which one's own needs are advocated over the needs of others.

It relies on an aggressive style of communication, low regard for future relationships, and the exercise of coercive power.

Those using a competitive style tend to seek control over a discussion, in both substance and ground rules. They fear that loss of such control will result in solutions that fail to meet their needs.

Confronting tends to result in responses that increase the level of threat.

  • Compromise

This is an approach to conflict in which people gain and give in a series of tradeoffs.

While satisfactory, compromise is generally not satisfying. We each remain shaped by our individual perceptions of our needs and don't necessarily understand the other side very well.

We often retain a lack of trust and avoid risk-taking involved in more collaborative behaviors.

  • Collaborate

This is the pooling of individual needs and goals toward a common goal. Often called "win-win problem-solving," collaboration requires assertive communication and cooperation in order to achieve a better solution than either individual could have achieved alone.

It offers the chance for consensus, the integration of needs, and the potential to exceed the "budget of possibilities" that previously limited our views of the conflict.

It brings new time, energy, and ideas to resolve the dispute meaningfully

  • Accommodate

This is the opposite of confronting.

Persons using this style yield their needs to those of others, trying to be diplomatic.

They tend to allow the needs of the group to overwhelm their own, which may not ever be stated, as preserving the relationship is seen as most important.

  • Avoid

This is a common response to the negative perception of conflict.

"Perhaps if we don't bring it up, it will blow over," we say to ourselves. But, generally, all that happens is that feelings get pent up, views go unexpressed, and the conflict festers until it becomes too big to ignore.

Like a cancer that may well have been cured if treated early, the conflict grows and spreads until it kills the relationship.

Because needs and concerns go unexpressed, people are often confused, wondering what went wrong in a relationship.


Tips for Managing Conflict

  • Expect conflict
  • Find a mediator
  • Be open to compromise
  • Avoid gossip
  • Use business-like language
  • Don’t personalize or internalize disagreements
  • Choose your battles
  • Let everyone speak
  • Don’t react immediately! Count to 10 or 100…!


Be a pro-active manager

As a manager help yourself by,

  • Identifying the symptoms
  • Understanding possible responses from the people involved in conflict
  • Determining the cause of conflict
  • Examining the contributors to conflict
  • Exploring the responses to conflict
  • Ask questions to help resolve conflict
  • Applying conflict resolution styles

Look for the symptoms early, select a suited conflict resolution style and resolve the issue effectively.

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