Managing Conflict – Preventing it all from kicking off

Karen was notorious for flying off the handle, especially when faced with conflict. Her pupils would turn green and she would explode into a ranting rage. Her fists would immediately go up and she would get defensive and blame anyone and everyone but herself. All in all, it looked like she’d had one too many fruit shoots!

Karen was well known for diving in with both feet when dealing with a conflicting situation. In her opinion, “It got everything out in the open and sorted”. In reality of course, she made matters far worse. The divide between her and her team was getting wider by the day. Her biggest failure was that she never took a step back to analyse the situation and figure out how best to resolve it.

The PU View

We would advise Karen to take an hour out and think about which of the following techniques she could use to resolve her conflict situations. She could:

Compromise – Find common ground to maintain the relationship
Compete – Very much a win/lose situation. (I suspect she would love this approach)
Avoid – A lose/lose situation.
Accommodate – This approach is generally used when one party is willing to forfeit their position
Collaborate – Very much a win/win situation. Requires trust and commitment on both sides (I can’t see her adopting this approach)

The key when trying to resolve conflict is to take a considered step back to reflect. Do you really want to resolve the conflict? If so, which technique/strategy is likely to have the best effect in order to achieve the desired goal? How will the other party react? More importantly, how will you react?

Sadly for Karen, she will always be picking up the pieces of conflict. Conflict will never get resolved in her eyes and all because she won’t take that essential step back to reflect and consider each situation objectively.

Book Recommendation 

This book will change how you see all conflict.  Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute 

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