Conflict Resolution Skills (Podcast)

In this episode of the Leaders Factory Podcast we're continuing our discussion on how to improve our communication skills. A skilled communicator realizes that conflict cannot be completely eliminated. He or she also understands that people’s different perspectives, needs, wants and values can lead to disagreement on all types of issues. When conflict does occur, it can be a bad - even tragic - experience. When handled well, however, it can result in a productive outcome. People employ different styles in dealing with different levels of conflict. In order for you to deal with conflict appropriately, you need to determine what your most common resolution style is, then determine which style would be most productive for you in specific situations. In this podcast we will cover the 5 resolution skills and when and how to employ them.

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What is Your Resolution Style?

  1. The Competitors.
 These people have a strong desire to be right or to win. They possess a “bully mentality.” With them, there will always be a winner and a loser. Others involved in the conflict may give in, but usually lose respect and trust for those who want them to unquestionably bow down. 

The competitive style is appropriate when there is an emergency, crisis or some other situation where someone has to take charge. At other times, however, this is usually just a temporary answer and the conflict will eventually return.
  2. The Avoiders.
 These people have an aversion to any type of conflict. As a result, the conflict is not addressed and usually continues to grow. The individuals who go out of their way to avoid conflict in the workplace are often the ones who go home and take out frustration on others, displacing suppressed anger.

 The avoidance style is appropriate when dealing with a person who is overreacting to something and you feel the situation should be postponed - or if you feel like this particular conflict doesn’t involve you or the outcome doesn’t matter to you.
  3. The Accommodators.
 These people are sometimes described as having a martyr syndrome. They try to make everyone happy. They give in to the wants or desires of others in order to establish superficial harmony. In the end, these people invite others to take advantage of them. 

The accommodation style is appropriate if the issue isn’t important to you or is minor, or if you are wrong, or if you feel a relationship could be greatly damaged because of the emotions involved.
  4. The Compromisers.
 These people are willing to accept less than what they consider the ideal outcome in order to reach a solution. They get a part of what they want and the others get a part of what they want by “splitting the difference.”

 The compromise style is appropriate when the time is short and you need at least a temporary solution. It is also appropriate when the end goals of the parties are not compatible or when the goals are of moderate importance to all involved.
  5. The Collaborators.
 Also called the Negotiators, these people find ways for everyone involved in the conflict to achieve his or her goal. Collaboration takes more skill, effort and time than any of the other resolutions, but it also results in the win-win outcome.

 The collaborator style is appropriate when something is important enough to merit the effort and time required. It works best when all the parties involved are good communicators and possess problem solving skills.

Problem Solving skills spotlight the following steps:

  1. Define the problem or situation.
  2. Direct the conversation in a positive way.
  3. Determine points of agreement.
  4. Discover all feelings, wants and needs.
  5. Defend principles.
  6. Detail views clearly and calmly.
  7. Decide what possibilities exist.
  8. Develop win-win plans.
  9. Divide the rewards of collaboration.
  10. Deal with on-going relationship maintenance.

These resolution skills are an excerpt from Carl May's book "Are We Communicating Yet?"

Question: Which one of the above keys stands out to you the most? Why? Please answer and make any comments in the "Leave a Reply" box below.

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