Workplace Conflict

5 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict

There is plenty of evidence that conflict is an issue in the vast majority of workplaces, either because it’s being avoided in order to maintain artificial harmony, or because it’s being dealt with poorly. Either way it can lead to lost productivity and lost revenue. This is the main reason why you need to know how to deal effectively with conflict in order to increase performance and improve profits.

Causes of conflict

Most conflict stems from differences of some kind. Differences in information, in values and beliefs, in roles and functions, differences in perception. Other causes can include lack of trust, fear of the consequences and competitiveness, especially over scarce resources.

5 Strategies

Whatever the cause, here are 5 strategies you can adopt to deal with conflict – from “The Magic of Conflict” by Thomas F Crum.

Avoiding – This can be effective when the issue is relatively unimportant and the risks of surfacing it outweigh the benefits of resolving it.

Accommodating – Useful when the issue is far more important to others than to you. However it isn’t appropriate when your input and/or commitment is required and you can’t give it.

Forcing – Good for when quick, decisive, action is called for or you need to implement an unpopular decision – but only if commitment isn’t needed.

Compromising – Although giving everyone some of what they want isnt likely to lead to a satisfactory outcome, compromising can work when the goals are mutually exclusive

Collaborating – When time isn’t an issue, working through difficult feelings and different perspectives can lead to a much better solution and stronger commitment to that solution

  • What is your default position when dealing with conflict?
  • If you have a current conflict going on in your life, which of the 5 strategies would be most effective?