Conflicts describe situations in which the goals, interests, or values of two different parties collide. Having a conflict with someone is something pretty common in the workplace. They can involve your supervisor or employer, team members, members of different departments, and so on.
Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. It can get things out in the open and thus defuse a tense situation. The important thing is to manage the conflict properly. And, depending on what your desired outcome is, there are five conflict management styles you can employ:
- The accommodating style. This style is characterized by openness to cooperate. It often goes against your own goals and desires, and so it can lead to frustration. However, it’s the best solution for situations in which you realize the other person is more experienced than you or that he or she has a better solution.
- The collaborative style. Also called the win-win, it describes a situation in which both parties work together in order to maximize the gains for everyone. It’s a style that builds better relationships and leads to positive consequences for all the parties involved.
- The competitive style. Unlike the collaborative style, this describes a win-lose situation. The person is not interested in the gains of any other parties if they interfere with his own goals. This style can lead to more serious conflicts in the future.
- The avoiding style. The person simply doesn’t bring up the issue causing the conflict. It doesn’t help the person reach his or her goals, but it’s a good solution for those situations in which a conflict would be too costly, or the gains are insignificant.
- The compromising style. It describes a situation where both parties obtain limited gains. It’s not perfect, but it’s enough for situations in which you’re looking for a short-term solution to a problem.