Conflicts are inevitable, so trying to avoid them is unrealistic. Rather, you should focus on how you respond to them.
That will determine whether you are successful in managing the situation or end up making mistakes that you regret.
There are different approaches to managing conflict. While conflict management experts recommend many techniques, you have to balance expert advice and your own style.
It helps to understand the different conflict management styles. Knowing the pros and cons of each style helps you make informed decisions on whether you need to adjust your approach to conflict resolution.
Conflict Management Styles
When it comes to conflict management styles, there is no right or wrong. However, there are some pros and cons to each style.
Also, your natural style could be a combination of more than one conflict management style. Here’s an overview of the most common styles of conflict management.
A compromising style for conflict management tries to resolve the issue by finding a middle ground.
Both parties concede to some of their demands or issues to reach a mutually beneficial solution.
The advantage of this style is that it keeps things moving forward and can potentially resolve an issue quickly.
It also opens the opportunity for collaboration down the road. The disadvantage is that both parties have to give up something to achieve a resolution. This means no one leaves completely happy.
A competing style for conflict management is an aggressive approach where you do not accept the point of view of the other party and reject any compromise.
This style can help resolve disputes quickly and help demonstrate discipline, but can also be seen as overly authoritarian and can often allow problems to get worse.
Managers who use a competing style of conflict management often have unhappy or unproductive team members.
Dealing with conflict or engaging in confrontation can be uncomfortable. Some people prefer to avoid such situations.
Conflict management through avoiding means you are ignoring the conflict or removing the conflicted parties from the situation.
This style is a useful tool to establish a cool-down period, but in the long run, it might not be practical to keep ignoring the situation or removing the conflicted parties.
Deescalating the situation through a calm-down period can be effective. However, avoiding conflicts can make them worse in some cases.
People who adopt an accommodating style to conflict management are often easygoing and agreeable.
You will find professional negotiators often use an accommodating style to reach a resolution.
The disadvantage of this style is that the accommodating party might be viewed as weak and this might be used against them in the future to pressure them to be more accommodating. An accommodating style is ideal for handling small disagreements.
Those who adopt a collaborating style work on understanding the concerns of the opposing party and express their own needs.
While a collaborating style can produce the best long-term results, this style requires time and effort.
This style often requires all conflicting parties to sit down and discuss their concerns so a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
The greatest benefit of this style is that it is a win-win situation for everyone. However, achieving this can be time-consuming. If there is a deadline, you might not have enough time to collaborate.
Finding The Right Balance
The key to finding the best solution to a conflict is to balance your natural conflicting management style with what is needed by the situation.
If you believe you are not great at interpersonal skills and would struggle to communicate with the opposing party, you might find it challenging to use a collaborative approach to conflict management.
That style requires a lot of communication. However, you could consider your strengths to use them for conflict management.
If you have good emotional intelligence, you can use that to recognize the emotions of others to help you navigate through conflicts.
Consider getting professional conflict management training to learn techniques on how to manage workplace conflicts more effectively.
Choose a program that offers training on conflict psychology, identifying early signs of conflicts, and improving active listening skills.
With expert training and practice, you can develop skills based on your strengths. This will enable you to develop your own approach to conflict management.
Effectively managing conflict could be key to career progression, better relationships, and a more satisfying and fulfilling career.