What does conflict management mean? 5 conflict resolution strategies
Conflict management is a challenge for any manager. Shifting the members of a team from confrontation to cooperation, taking them on the path to success, is often an obstacle course.
To deal with vastly different personalities, the "management code" has listed 5 behaviours to be adapted on a case-by-case basis according to each person's situation and character:
- The avoidance strategy:
The avoidance strategy is perhaps the worst of all since it is to deliberately ignore the problem and not attempt to solve it.
The approach is justified when the identified conflict seems superficial to you or even like a temporary strategy ... Because you do not yet know how to react to the situation, you need to take a step back before deciding or letting your collaborators come to their senses after a conflicting event.
Finally, some issues need a specific context (place, appropriate time) to be resolved, and many managers will prefer to wait before bringing the conflict back to the table to seek to resolve it.
Point of vigilance: be careful not to fall from avoidance to perpetual ignorance of one or more problems within your team. You then risk vitiating the working atmosphere and seeing human relationships worsen until the explosion.
Likewise, your managerial authority could be called into question by your employees, for lack of any attempt to act on your part.
- The strategy of authority:
On the opposite extreme to the avoidance strategy, there is the solution of outright imposing your will/vision/solution.
In this case, you make full use of your hierarchical authority, and you place yourself directly in a power struggle with your collaborators.
This type of conflict management behavior is called for when a solution needs to be quickly reached, or when it is urgent to decide.
Be careful: the non-negotiable can be useful for certain aspects on which you do not want to compromise under any circumstances.
Remain alert, this type of relationship, termed ultra-authoritarian, leads to a win-lose deal (you are a winner), inevitably leading to new conflicts and a counterproductive work atmosphere.
- The compromise strategy:
Compromise is in the middle, between the two extremes of avoidance and authority.
The negotiation strategy broadly consists of revising downwards the requirements of your interlocutor, but also yours so that everyone is "half satisfied" rather than leaving one interlocutor completely winning and the other completely losing (like the balance of power in the case of the strategy of authority).
Your team wants more resources to succeed in its mission?
You don't have the budget to fully satisfy their request, but you still provide them with a minimum addition.
Does an employee want a raise? You give it a bonus or half of the expected amount...
Point of vigilance: compromise avoids immediate conflict, calms people, but does not allow all possibilities to be explored.
If you use and abuse it, you risk generating frustration and even more bitter new conflicts.
- The accommodation strategy:
In this case, you end a conflict/disagreement even though the solution you are putting in place does not suit you.
The relationship is win-losing for the benefit of the employee(s). You lose as a manager.
This behavior is justified when the stakes are not important and when the solution does not call into question either the good continuation of the mission or your hierarchical authority.
Be careful: an accommodating decision should not undermine your authority or tarnish your image as a leader.
- The collaboration strategy:
Collaboration is obviously the most constructive method to use in resolving a conflict.
From this perspective, everyone's needs are taken into account and the solution implemented satisfies all the protagonists, in a win-win logic.
Setting up a collaborative way of managing your human resources requires active listening and time to identify the most constructive options.
Point of vigilance: collaboration is possible over time if the team members are in the same process and work their behavior and skills in this direction.
Through your leadership and your management style, you can foster this type of mentality in the corporate culture.