Constructive Conflict Resolution

Constructive Conflict Resolution

Team Development

Sources of Conflict

 Conflicts arise from differences in goals, facts, values, and


 Major sources of conflict in teams include





Five Modes of Handling Conflict

 Competing (Forcing)

 Avoiding (Withdrawing)

 Accommodating (Smoothing)

 Collaborating (Confronting)

 Compromising

Competing (Forcing)

 Assertive and uncooperative – pursuing your own concerns at

another’s expense

 Power oriented

 Useful when

 unpopular actions needed on important issues

 pressing on issues when you know you are right

 decisive action required (emergencies)

 needing to protect yourself and others

Competing (Forcing) continued  Can be harmful if you

 Alienate the other party

 Stalemate the conflict and not come to any agreement by

insisting on your own particular outcome

 Feel remorse later and regret having pushed to much for your

own point of view

 Cause the other party to fell remorseful about the concessions

that they felt pressured to give

Competing (Forcing) continued  Can be harmful if you (continued)

 Miss hearing other issues or points of view at the moment that

might have proven useful

 Lose sight of your overall goals by locking into one point of


 Lose emotional control and run the risk of permanently

damaging the relationship

 Risk alienating your own team members who do no share your

point of view

Avoiding (Withdrawing)  Unassertive and uncooperative – neither pursuing you own

nor another’s concerns

 Uses behaviors such as sidestepping, postponing, or


 Is useful when

 Issue is trivial or symptomatic of another larger issue or there is

no chance of winning

 Others can resolve issue more effectively, more data are

needed, or people need to calm down

Avoiding (Withdrawing) continued

 Can hinder the conflict resolution process if you

 Persist in avoiding an important issue for the long term

 Miss a time window in resolving the issue

 Shut down or lose your connections with others

 Are seen as being unwilling to cooperate

 Risk alienation

Accommodating (Smoothing)  Unassertive and cooperative – pursuing another’s concerns

and sacrificing your own

 Is useful

 When you are wrong or when the issue is more important to

others than to yourself

 When used to demonstrate open-mindedness, preserve

harmony, or accumulate social credits

 When competing would damage your own cause

Accommodating (Smoothing) continued

 Can be harmful if you

 Fail to achieve your goals

 Lose respect in the other party’s eyes

 Are viewed as weak or wishy-washy

 Are seen as ineffectual by people within your own organization

or team

 Bankrupt your organization

 Anger or alienate those you represent

Collaborating (Confronting)  Assertive and cooperative – pursuing your own and another’s


 Is likely to lead to the most lasting solutions

 Also known as problem confronting or problem solving. Collaboration involves an attempt to work with the other person to find a win- win solution to the problem in hand – the one that most satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win approach sees conflict resolution as an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial result. It includes identifying the underlying concerns of the opponents and finding an alternative which meets each party’s concerns.

Collaborating (Confronting Continued)

 Is useful in

 Determining an integrative solution when both parties’

concerns are equally important

 Gaining commitment from others

 Resolving interpersonal hostilities

 Merging insights from people with different perspectives

Collaborating (Confronting)


 Can be harmful if you

 Sell out some “have to have’s” for the sake of a win-win solution

 Fail to be an advocate when it is necessary

 Become too close with the other party and lose your objectivity

 Downgrade your goals to reach agreement

 Become remorseful that you did not push hard enough for your

own particular outcomes


 Partially assertive and cooperative – pursuing a solution that

satisfies some concerns of both people

 Is useful

 When used to achieve temporary solutions or arrive at

agreement quickly

 When both parties are strongly committed to mutually

exclusive positions

 When goals are moderately important

Compromising (continued)  Can be harmful if you

 Are seen as an “easy touch”

 Are seen as too gullible

 Give up something that you will later regret

 Lead the conflict to a mediocre outcome

 Trade off a more valuable concession for a less valuable one

 End up not getting what you really want

Key Messages

 Conflicts will occur in projects and arise from differences in

goals, opinions, facts, values, and methods

 It is recognized that conflict is healthy and should be managed

to the mutual benefit of all concerned. The management of

conflict determines it goodness or badness

 When the inevitable conflict occurs, failure to manage it

properly can result in many types of negative consequences

Key Messages (continued)

 There are five modes of handling conflict:

 competing or forcing

 avoiding or withdrawing

 accommodating or smoothing

 collaborating or confronting

 compromising

 Each mode is useful and is harmful in certain ways

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