Managing Conflicts
by Sunanda K. Chavan
Category Conflict Management & Negotiation Skills



Anytime you assemble people from differing backgrounds and experiences conflict will occur. People avoid conflicts and don’t indulge in solving them. Conflict resolution capabilities are based upon the efficient communication and are helpful in de-escalating and dealing with workplace conflict.  Dealing with your response to workplace conflict through the advancement of conflict resolution abilities helps you to determine and effectively employ the correct resolution technique. Learning the various conflict response styles likewise helps you to determine what has not worked during the past and helps you to pick a more effective strategy.

Research on conflict management styles has found that each of us tends to use one or two of the above five strategies more than the others.  For instance, some people predominantly use collaborating when in interpersonal conflict situations.  In other words, although there are five different ways to handle conflicts, such a person is more likely to collaborate than they are to force, accommodate, avoid, or compromise.  There are many advantages to using a collaborating strategy to handle interpersonal conflict situations. 

Collaborating with the other party promotes creative problem solving, and it's a way of fostering mutual respect and rapport.  However, collaborating takes time, and many conflict situations are either very urgent or too trivial to justify the time it takes to collaborate.  There are many conflict situations that should be handled with one of the other four conflict management strategies rather than collaboration.  Managers who are very skilled at conflict management are able to understand interpersonal conflict situations and use the appropriate conflict management strategy for each situation.



Accommodating – This is when you cooperate to a high-degree, and it may be at your own expense, and actually work against your own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes

Avoiding -  This is when you simply avoid the issue.  You aren’t helping the other party reach their goals, and you aren’t assertively pursuing your own.  This works when the issue is trivial or when you have no chance of winning.  

Collaborating – This is where you partner or pair up with the other party to achieve both of your goals.  This is how you break free of the “win-lose” paradigm and seek the “win-win.”  This can be effective for complex scenarios where you need to find a novel solution. 

Competing – This is the “win-lose” approach.  You act in a very assertive way to achieve your goals, without seeking to cooperate with the other party, and it may be at the expense of the other party.   

Compromising – This is the “lose-lose” scenario where neither party really achieves what they want.  This requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation