Conflict Management!

[sm_smlts_dropcap color=”red”]I[/sm_smlts_dropcap] hate conflict and tend to avoid it, if I can. Like most people, conflict seems to follow me around and be a part of life. I can only wonder if some responses to conflict are more appropriate than others. Can conflict be positive?  I decided to find out and to search for tips on dealing with conflict.

ASQ provides an online course on Conflict Management for Members Leaders through the Learning Institute. Through the practice questions, I found out that I know more than I thought about what to do in conflict situations. Through practice, I may even choose the right one at the right time.

Responses to Conflict

WORKPLACE CONFLICT: Recognizing and Responding to Conflict offers the following Job Aid:

PURPOSE: Use this job aid to review the five responses to conflict.
[custom_table]THE FIVE RESPONSES TO CONFLICT[/custom_table]

(Copyright 2010 SkillSoft)

[table] [tr][th]RESPONSE[/th] [th]DESCRIPTION[/th] [th]USE[/th][/tr] [tr][td]Competing[/td] [td]A forceful, aggressive, and uncooperative response.[/td] [td]When quick, decisive action is crucial, e.g. in a crisis.

On important issues where unpopular actions need implementing – e.g., cost cutting or disciplinary action.

On issues key to company welfare when you know you’re right.
[/td][/tr] [tr][td]Collaborating[/td] [td]An approach that acknowledges the importance of all the points of view and aims to meet the needs of everyone involved. It is an assertive yet cooperative response.[/td] [td]To find a solution that integrates diverse and equally important views.

When your aim is to learn.

To get commitment through a consensus.

To encourage tolerance and understanding of others.[/td][/tr] [tr][td]Compromising[/td] [td]An approach where all parties are willing to give up something in order to come to a mutually satisfying agreement.[/td] [td]When parties with equal power are at a standstill.

To reach temporary solutions to complex issues.

When you are under time pressure to arrive at a solution.

When collaboration or competition is unsuccessful.

When the cost of conflict is higher than the cost of losing ground.[/td][/tr] [tr][td]Avoiding[/td] [td]A response where someone does not want to get involved in conflict or simply ignores it. It is unassertive and uncooperative.[/td] [td]The chances of winning are bleak.

When the issue is of little importance.

When emotions are high.

When the disruption of dealing with the conflict will cause more harm than good.

When you need more information.

When someone else would be in a better position to solve the problem.[/td][/tr] [tr][td]Accommodating[/td] [td]A response which is not assertive but very cooperative. One party is willing to sacrifice their wants and give in to the demands of the other party.[/td] [td]When the issue is of more importance to the other party.

When wanting to be courteous and do a favor.

When you realize you are at fault and want to rectify a situation.

To reduce losses when you are outmatched or losing.[/td][/tr] [/table]

About the author:

Ruth Stanley is currently the Vice Chair, ASQ Ottawa Section. You can reach her using our contact form.