3C 5.2. Resolving conflicts

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.

  1. Confrontation (Collaboration) or problem-solving: directly face a conflict; places high value on both outcomes and relationships; promote open exchange of information
  2. Compromise: use a give-and-take approach; solution often not optimal.
  3. 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
  4. Forcing (competing): the win-lose approach
  5. 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

  1. Work with more, rather than less information
  2. Debate on the basis of facts
  3. Develop multiple alternatives to enrich debate
  4. Create commonly agreed-upon goals
  5. Maintain a balanced power structure
  6. Resolve issues without forcing consensus
  7. Inject humor into discussions