An effective supervisor not only meets quotas and deadlines but also actively promotes workplace harmony. Despite best efforts, however, negative conflicts can arise. The five common strategies for conflict resolution bridge management styles and personalities, but they differ drastically in effectively preserving morale and productivity in a healthy manner.
Managers may decide to avoid a conflict, but that decision should be short-term only and for pressing reasons. Unless it surrounds a temporary situation that has a very good chance of resolving itself, the conflict that lies fallow too long often escalates like weeds overtaking a garden. The longer you deny the conflict the attention it needs and deserves, the harder it can be to resolve it. Decisions made by avoiding the conflict could have long-lasting and detrimental effects. Ultimately with this strategy, everyone loses.
Competitions exist when one or more parties press for a loser in a conflict-so long as that loser is not he. He must win-get what he wants even at the expense of others-or he will not be satisfied, often continuing the conflict until he achieves the result he seeks. In a competitive conflict, that result is a win-lose situation.
Just the opposite of competition is accommodation. This strategy involves acquiescing to everyone else’s needs, wants, and demands. Denying your managerial needs in favor of the needs and wants of others does not resolve the conflict; it merely buries it. Accommodating others in a conflict may remove it from view, but it still exists and still negatively impacts productivity. This method simply generates a lose-win situation. If used at all, this is another temporary resolution at best, because it can create a competition resolution atmosphere.
A compromise resolution may reach a surface agreement, but by definition, it is another in which both parties lose. When everyone loses, no one wins–including your department or business. Compromises should always be temporary and with a declaration of quick follow-up to find a better permanent solution. The fact that each party involved loses a little does nothing to change the lose-lose status.
The collaboration strategy of conflict resolution empowers all involved, bestows value in input, and shows consideration and respect to all parties. Working together to find a solution injects the resolution with strength and durability. Collaboration is the healthiest and the sole win-win strategy in conflict resolution.
“Conflict Management Strategies and Styles,” 2001. Howard Culbertson; Southern Nazarene University. http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/conflict.htm#avoid
“The New Conflict Management: Strategies for Dealing with Tough Topics and Interpersonal Conflicts,” Harvard University. http://www.pon.harvard.edu/free-reports/the-new-conflict-management-strategies-for-dealing-with-tough-topics-interpersonal-conflicts/
Wright State University; Raj Soin School of Business. “Conflict Management: Style and Strategy,” Scott Williams. http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/conflict.htm#Conflict Management Strategies