Dealing with Conflicts

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Activity 1- Approaches to Dealing with Conflict

1. 5 conflict management styles:
i. Ignoring or avoiding the conflict
ii. Giving in/ accommodating
iii. Aggression/ bullying
iv. Compromise/ sitting the difference
v. Co-operation/ collaboration

2. Ignoring or avoiding the conflict: Ignoring the pink elephant in the room- pretending the conflict is not there in hopes that it will go away, disappear or resolve itself. Positive consequences: Give us time to prepare for it and choose the most suitable time and place for it. May be the best option in scenarios where “discretion is the better part of the valor” ie. situations that might involve violence reaction by person armed with weapon, intoxicated or extremely upset. Negative consequences: The trouble with avoiding conflict is that it doesn't make it go away. Ignoring it can actually make it worse. When our suppressed emotion reaches the point where we lose control, we might deal with conflict inappropriately or even disastrously. We will never learn to deal with conflict effectively.

Giving in/ accommodating: Give in to the other peron/s in the conflict, agreeing to their wants to accommodate their demands. Referred to as “lose/win” approach. It is the best approach in situation when the other person is in a more powerful position, violent, drunk, extremely upset or armed with a weapon or when dealing with a customer complaint. Positive consequences: It helps us to avoid greater damage and loss to us in conflicts we are unlikely to win and enable us to re-engage in the conflict, when we have become better prepared and in a more powerful position. Negative consequences: People with tendency to give in all the time- the passive/submissive that have low self esteem, poor communication skills and lack assertiveness becomes a “pushover” or door matt”.

Aggression/ bullying: Referred to as “win/lose” approach. A person with this approach is determined to get their way, to win, to beat the other person without regard for their needs and rights. It is done by using power, aggression, intimidation or threats of violence, retribution etc. Positive consequences: Appropriate style to deal with an aggressive opponent or to defend ourselves against violent attack. Negative consequences: You will often need to keep dealing with the other person/s who have made the loser/s. The loser/s will often be resentful and less cooperative in future dealings and may be waiting for their opportunity to seek revenge. An employee who has been dealt with by their manager or boss in this way will not be committed to the business and will often undermine or sabotage the business as a way to get even.

Compromise/ sitting the difference: Try meet the other person/s in the conflict halfway, with both sides giving in on some of their demands. Positive consequences: Very quick and easy way of dealing with a conflict, and is often a suitable approach. Negative consequences: Both sides have sort of half won and half lost, so both may feel a bit dissatisfied with the solution.

Co-operation/ collaboration: The ideal approach if both sides of the conflict are willing to work on it together to find the best way to resolve the conflict. It requires good will, honesty and a constructive approach on both sides to work. Referred to as the win/win approach. Positive consequences: When well-used, co-operation helps get the best outcome and solution for both sides and fosters and maintains a positive ongoing relationship between the two sides of conflict. Negative consequences: None.

3. When deciding on which approach should be used in different conflict situations, it is advisable to stay open and flexible instead of the individual’s own preferred approach (default style) to dealing with conflict. We need to be conscious of our default style, and be ready to over ride our natural tendency to use it whenever a better option could be chosen.

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