Dealing with Conflicts: A Guide for A Successful Leader


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Posted on Aug 25, 2021 at 04:08 PM


Interest among people vary; there is no way to have the same interest with someone. That's why conflicts emerge. Therefore, the existence of conflicts is expected when dealing with others, and this requires dealing with them to get benefit in order to make a change.

Conflicts are significant for great changes. Good conflict management helps build a team, assist the team members in working more efficiently, developing the leader's ability to manage differences, reconcile differences, reduce barriers of success and tension, raise staff morale. This leads to maintain skilled staff and increase the efficiency and ability of organizations to achieve their goals.

Thomas-Kilmann conflict model is one of the most common models for dealing with conflict. It shows what may result from conflict because there are two dimensions of conflict methods, which are assertiveness and cooperativeness. Assertiveness is defined as the degree to person attempt to satisfy his needs, or to reach the results he prefers, while cooperativeness is when he tries to satisfy fears, or solve the problem of the other.

The Thomas-Kilmann tool allows individuals to assess their conflict management style, concentrate on and support their strengths, and pay attention to other methods' importance and advantages. The effectiveness of the method used to manage conflict varies depending on circumstances and the person's inclination to be cooperative or assertive. There are five methods of conflict management according to the model.

Conflict management methods in the Thomas-Kilmann model

The model illustrates two dimensions of conflict: assertiveness; where the person cares about his or her interests, and cooperativeness. The person is concerned with the interests of other parties in the conflict. Here we have five ways resulted from the previous dimensions to deal with the conflict:

1- Avoiding: This method does not include the two dimensions. Here, the person does not want to solve his problems, nor the problems of the other party, he does not want to be a part of the conflict at all.

This method will not give any solution or avoid tension and threat associated with the conflict. It may exacerbate the conflict. On the other hand, it is useful when the potential risks are greater than providing a solution or postponing the interfere in conflict at the right time or using a diplomatic manner instead.

2- Accommodating: It is the most cooperative approach, and the least in the reservation one. It means satisfying fears, solving the other person's problems at the expense of the special interest, because it holds the meaning of sacrifice. It has many forms like charity, obedience to orders, and recognition of the other party's opinion.

This way can be used by individuals who do not like to get into a conflict and willing to avoid it. It is appropriate to use this method in the long run to achieve greater benefits from the loss of sacrifice.

3- Compromising: This method is between cooperativeness and assertiveness. It does not avoid the problem, but it uses the same technique which cooperativeness uses.

 It aims to find a sound and mutually acceptable solution with some concessions. It does not meet all the fears and desires of the conflict parties, but it is a quick way out of the impasse and resolve the current conflict, which can be followed by other methods of conflict management

4- Competing: This method is related to conservative method, as it is a way the person uses to satisfy his desires at the expense of others, i.e. the one who exercises the method of competition seeks to be a winner at the expense of the other party who is ultimately a loser and allows him to take an attitude to protect and defend rights.

 In this method, it is expected that the person will not show willingness to negotiate or doesn’t have negotiation skills, but rather use the reasonable force to win the conflict to achieve what he wants, such as the power of attitude or the skill of debate.

5- Cooperating: It is the most helpful method for the conflict parties where all parties win. It is a cooperative and assertive method simultaneously, as it involves discussion in favor of the parties rather than arguing for the personal interest, working together to identify the main problem, and trying to find a solution for the benefit of all and meet their concerns.

 Thus, the vision and different objectives of the parties to the conflict are integrated, so that they are loyal to the implementation and success of the solution and build a long-term partnership.

 However, this method requires time to reach a solution that benefits all parties, and it requires the willingness of the parties to cooperate which leads to stronger working relationships.

How to choose the right method of conflict management?

According to the model, the method of conflict management depends on intentions and not on the behavior of the viewer, i.e. it does not require a certain level of skills.

Conflict management does not require a certain level of skills. Everyone is able to use the five methods of conflict management, so it is useful to use these methods after attending training courses in Change Management Strategies and Conflict Resolution.  

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the conflict management method used may vary as a result of:

Personal tendencies: Everyone has a different methodology to manage conflict. In the workplace, people may be assertive or cooperative. Hence, there is a difference in the way they manage conflict.

Attitude: The method of conflict management varies according to the attitude that the person might face. It is hard to use the cooperative method if the conflict requires a quick solution and there is no sufficient time for discussion or when the parties do not trust each other.  

Other: Another reason for differences in the method of conflict management used is the importance of the problem to the person, and the effect of not meeting the needs of the various parties.

Conclusion

Conflicts are normal in organizations as long as there are a large number of individuals. It is important for organizations to be competent to deal and manage conflict situations in a way that is well accomplished, and when all members agree on objectives and help each other despite their differences to play their roles efficiently.

To learn more and acquire more knowledge about the subject we recommend checking our leadership training courses in London page.