Ensuring Win-Win in Conflict Situations At Work

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 Win winaggressive, 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…

  1. Focus on the needs, concerns and feelings for both of you
  2. Have respect for each of those needs
  3. See the issue as a mutual problem to be solved, not won
  4. Be prepared to listen and shift perspectives
  5. Don’t concentrate on winning at all costs
  6. Aim for power with the other, not power over the other

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:

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training | Management Blog | Image courtesy by David Castillo Dominici of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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