Leading conflict resolution

Published on March 30, 2022   9 min
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Hi, I'm Dr. Robert Lussier, Professor Emeritus at Springfield College. I have more than 475 publications with 8000+ Google Scholar citations. My book sales exceed 2 million copies, including a leadership book that this presentation is based on. I'm also a visiting professor through my Publish Don't Perish firm. I go to universities around the globe to improve student and faculty ability to get published. See my website: www.publishdonotperish.com for more details. Now in this talk, I'm going to first discuss five conflict resolution styles that you can choose from. Then secondly, I'm going to present a four step model to help you initiate a successful conflict resolution.
Conflicts exist when people disagree and have opposing views. We tend to have a conflict when others don't meet expectations, or say and do something we disagree with. It happens when our expectations of each other are not clear, and we expect others to have the same expectations that we have. Conflict can be functional or dysfunctional. It tends to be functional if it's a conflict of ideas, because it can help improve processes and products. Personal conflict tends to be dysfunctional, because it can hurt relationships and performance, so we generally want resolve conflicts that are personal in nature.
Now, when we face a conflict, if someone has said or done something which we disagree with, we have five options on how to respond to that conflict. The first thing we can do is to avoid. Just do or say nothing, ignore it rather than resolve it. This is sometimes better, to not argue about meaningless things, such as politics. Everyday don't people do or say something you disagree with? And don't you often just say or do nothing just to avoid an argument? Now, the second choice we have is accommodating. You can do what the other person wants you to do for them. Isn't that part of being a friend and a servant leader? Don't you sometimes do things for others when you don't want to? Thirdly, is the forcing style, where you coerce the other person to do what you want them to do. Now this is often appropriate for managers to use to get the job done and to enforce the rules. Fourthly, we can negotiate. You compromise and give and take concessions, such as when management and union contracts are negotiated. Lastly, the best is the collaborating conflict resolution style, because it resolves the conflict with an acceptable resolution to all parties. Unfortunately, it's not always possible. But when we can create a win-win situation so that everybody feels like they got a good resolution to the conflict, it's much better.