Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Conflict resolution techniques in corporate teams

This is a result of a fast research i did in 2009 after a strong team conflict, i thought there is a scientific way to solve conflicts and i found it

  •     Steps to resolve a conflict
    • Process #1
    • Process #2
  •     Conflict Management styles
  •     Conflict Resolution Tips/Tricks
  •     Deadlock Handling
  •     References

Steps to resolve a conflict

Process #1

1- Identify the Problem—separate it from the people involved—use cause and effect analysis

2- Gather and Analyze Data—fact-based management

3- Clarify the Interests of Parties—as opposed to the positions of parties

4- Determine Objective Criteria to Evaluate Fairness of Outcomes—boundary conditions

5- Identify New and Creative Options—to resolve the conflict

6- Choose an Option—using team decision-making tools such as: Nominal Group Technique or Multi-voting

Process #2

1- What is the problem (for person A)? What is the problem (for person B)?

Determine what is the reason for the conflict from the perspective, i.e., from the point of view of the needs, of person A or person B (and person C, etc.), who are in conflict. The problem has to be stated in the form of I-messages, as if person A, B. C, etc., were speaking, but without accusing the other side.

2- What is the problem for A and B (about which A and B agree)?

Determine what is the problem: what are the reasons for the conflict from the position (needs) of both sides.

Both sides must agree with this definition of the problem.

3- Brainstorming solutions
Let both sides (all participants) propose the most creative ideas for resolving the conflict (without regard to the real circumstances).

With the brainstorming approach all participants in the conflict think up the most diverse resolutions, even options which are funny and impossible.

4- Analyzing solutions

Throwing out the resolutions that are impossible and unacceptable for both sides. Considering and weighing each idea.

5- Agreeing on acceptable solution by both sides

Selecting a resolution which is acceptable to both sides. Both sides themselves make the decision and accept the obligations which arise from the agreement.

6- Confirm the agreement

Confirming that the agreement is still respected: are both sides still satisfied and in agreement with their decision about the suggested resolution?

Conflict resolution flowchart

Conflict Management styles

Competitive: People who tend towards a competitive style take a firm stand, and know what they want. They usually operate from a position of power, drawn from things like position, rank, expertise, or persuasive ability. This style can be useful when there is an emergency and a decision needs to be make fast; when the decision is unpopular; or when defending against someone who is trying to exploit the situation selfishly. However it can leave people feeling bruised, unsatisfied and resentful when used in less urgent situations.

Collaborative: People tending towards a collaborative style try to meet the needs of all people involved. These people can be highly assertive but unlike the competitor, they cooperate effectively and acknowledge that everyone is important. This style is useful when a you need to bring together a variety of viewpoints to get the best solution; when there have been previous conflicts in the group; or when the situation is too important for a simple trade-off.

Compromising: People who prefer a compromising style try to find a solution that will at least partially satisfy everyone. Everyone is expected to give up something, and the compromiser him- or herself also expects to relinquish something. Compromise is useful when the cost of conflict is higher than the cost of losing ground, when equal strength opponents are at a standstill and when there is a deadline looming.

Accommodating: This style indicates a willingness to meet the needs of others at the expense of the person’s own needs. The accommodator often knows when to give in to others, but can be persuaded to surrender a position even when it is not warranted. This person is not assertive but is highly cooperative. Accommodation is appropriate when the issues matter more to the other party, when peace is more valuable than winning, or when you want to be in a position to collect on this “favor” you gave. However people may not return favors, and overall this approach is unlikely to give the best outcomes.

Avoiding: People tending towards this style seek to evade the conflict entirely. This style is typified by delegating controversial decisions, accepting default decisions, and not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings. It can be appropriate when victory is impossible, when the controversy is trivial, or when someone else is in a better position to solve the problem. However in many situations this is a weak and ineffective approach to take.

Conflict Resolution Tips/Tricks
  1.     Never hold the other party responsible for what is said in an argument
  2.     Attack the problem, not the person
  3.     Make it private as much as you can
  4.     Lower your voice/Be calm
  5.     Speak slowly
  6.     Reassure the other person of why you are arguing
  7.     Recommend a Time-Out/Take the argument to another location
  8.     Treat the issue with respect, don’t joke around
  9.     Stick to the point
  10.     Sit, don’t stand/Keep a physical distance, and respect it
  11.     Confirm that the outcome is acceptable for the other person
  12.     Genuinely consider the other person’s point of view
  13.     There’s power in the words “Yes, yes, I see exactly what you’re saying. You mean
  14.     If the situation turns verbally abusive, put a stop to it. ( you are saying what you don’t mean )
  15.     f you are wrong, quickly admit it and take responsibility
  16.     Make sure that good relationships are the first priority
  17.     Pay attention to the other person’s interests/goals
  18.     Set out the “Facts
  19.     Be open to the idea that a third position may exist, and that you can get to this idea jointly.

Deadlock Handling

  1. Having each individual/sub-group debate from the others’ point of view. This will help all involved to understand all viewpoints.
  2. Looking for a possible solution by examining and analyzing the two sides for common ground.
  3. Debating each side in context of the original task. After the allotted time is over for each side, toss a coin if it is not an critical issue and move on.


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