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The Art of Conflict Resolution

Last week I attend a training on conflict resolution at work. The instructor teach us a systematic way to resolve conflicts. In a conflict, there are two dimensions: relationship and personal goal. A successful conflict resolution should pay should build up relationship and achieve personal goal at the same time. Depending on different situations, there are five approaches to resolve conflicts:

Avoidance:
This approach is best for trivial conflict. However for bigger conflicts, simply avoiding the conflict won’t make it goes away.

Accommodation:
This approach sacrifice personal goal for relationship, trying to please everyone except yourself. In some situation asymmetric power balance, that is the one resolution. However, people always accommodate will eventually blow up.

Competition:
I think this is my default approach. The good thing is competition get things done, but it may hurt relationship. It is best use in the situation when you don’t care about the other person or the bonding of relationship is so strong that can withhold the competition.

Compromise:
Everyone give some and take some. It works on both relationship and personal goal at the same time, but it may end up everyone not getting what they really want.

Collaboration:
This suppose to be the best approach, everyone become a team, treat others goal as your own goal and find the win-win solution. Obviously, it is easier to say than done and it won’t work if there are mutually exclusive personal goal. On the other hand, if everyone is open and honest about his goal, it may turn out the goals are not so conflicting after all.

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