by Kandis Porter, Founder & Managing Director of Effective Flow Connections
Many of us have been testing our conflict management skills recently. We are working in new ways, homeschooling children, spending endless hours sheltering-in-place with family members, and trying to maintain at least six-feet apart from others when we venture into the world to obtain essential supplies. Conflict can be defined as, “any situation in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible.” Gaining self-awareness and taking time to fine-tune conflict management skills have never been more important!
Remember the saying, “pick your battles”? This is a good reminder to focus time and energy only on issues that are important to you, versus trivial things. What is the best way to manage conflict, you might ask? It depends. It depends on how much time you have, how important the issue is, how complex the issue is, and the importance of your relationship with the other person. According to Kilmann Diagnostics, there are five ways of managing conflict, based on the levels of cooperativeness and assertiveness applied in a specific situation:
- Competing – high level of assertiveness and low level of cooperation. This may be the best option when the issue is important, and a quick decision is required. This mode is also necessary in crises, such as getting people to evacuate a burning building.
- Compromising – middle of the road for both assertiveness and cooperation. This can be used when the issue is important to both parties and time is limited. Both parties give something up to resolve the issue, which can be looked at as a win/win or lose/lose situation.
- Collaborating – high level of assertiveness and high level of cooperation. This is the preferred mode when the issue is complex, important to both parties, and when enough time is allocated to the solution. When collaborating, trust must exist.
- Avoiding – low level of assertiveness and low level of cooperation. This is a good option when the issue is unimportant to both parties. This mode can also be used to buy time, especially when tensions are high.
- Accommodating – low level of assertiveness and high level of cooperation. This is a good option when the issue is more important to the other person and you want to create goodwill and build relationships with others.
Perfecting your conflict management skills will serve you well at home and in the workplace. A study led by CPP, Inc., indicated the primary causes of workplace conflict are personality clashes and warring egos (49%), followed by stress (34%) and heavy workloads (33%). Elevate yourself by effectively managing conflict, while always respecting yourself and others.
Learn more about conflict management at NCET’s Virtual Biz Cafe on May 20th. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. More info at NCETcafe.org.
Kandis Porter is the Founder & Managing Director of Effective Flow Connections, a management consulting company that helps organizations do what they do, even better! Learn more about Kandis at Effective Flow Connections.