There are five main ways of resolving conflicts. They are presented below in the order of effectiveness starting with the most effective. These approaches can be used whether you are a project manager, leader or team member.
- Confrontation (Collaboration) or problem-solving: directly face a conflict; places high value on both outcomes and relationships; promote open exchange of information
- Compromise: use a give-and-take approach; solution often not optimal.
- Smoothing (accommodating): de-emphasize areas of differences and emphasize areas of agreement; places higher value on maintaining relationships, sometimes topics that lead to hurt feelings not encouraged with this approach
- Forcing (competing): the win-lose approach
- Withdrawal (avoiding): retreat or withdraw from an actual or potential disagreement – what are the consequences of this type of approach? will the conflict disappear.
Minimizing Conflicts in Teams
Here are some guidelines for minimizing conflicts in teams
- Work with more, rather than less information
- Debate on the basis of facts
- Develop multiple alternatives to enrich debate
- Create commonly agreed-upon goals
- Maintain a balanced power structure
- Resolve issues without forcing consensus
- Inject humor into discussions