Dealing with conflict situations is not an easy option for most people at work. They tend to lean toward the extremes, rather than the solution, that is, they either become aggressive, passive-aggressive or submissive.
None of these behavioural traits are the most effective way of dealing with a conflict or disagreement at work.
One area that seems to raise its head in these situations is the need to hold on to some sort of power. To share power does not mean to give up power. You can liken it to sharing the light of a candle. When you light another person’s candle, your light doesn’t go out. You have more light for everyone. This enlightened approach to resolving conflict involves respect.
Respect is about recognising others as being different from you, not better or worse. The other person may well have a different set of values, beliefs and principles to you, and if you recognise that the other has different needs, you will appreciate the differences, rather than the things that are inherently ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’.
Thinking ‘win-win’ in this scenario will help achieve a resolution rather than an escalation.
Here are some ways to head towards this mutually-agreeable solution…
If you appear to be against the other person and simply trying to win yourself, the other will become naturally defensive. Being open, receptive and willing to co-operate will lead to collaboration.
Try to create an atmosphere where everyone can be seen to be ‘gaining’ from the solution. It may be that you won’t get what you want until others see that they get what they want.
Looking for more help with managing conflict at work? Try this article:
Head of Training
Originally published: 30 March, 2012