Conflict management skills can help us keep disputes and arguments from escalating out of control.
When negotiators get along well, creative problem solving is easy. When they become upset, however, they seem to forget everything they know about finding joint gain, to the point of giving up tangible wins simply to inflict losses on the other party. This is especially true in high-profile negotiations that turn nasty. This is where conflict management skills come in handy.
One of the most important conflict management skills you can acquire is managing team relationships for the long term, which requires trust-building and investing in individual relationships.
Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute resolution works only when the issues are “cool” ones that can be resolved through objective analysis.
When you need conflict management skills for yourself, remember that during the most heated arguments, it is often best for you to imagine yourself on stage and to mentally ‘go to the balcony’ or remove yourself from the situation at hand in order to take a larger view of the conflict.
One of the most difficult conflict management skills, however, is a simple apology. Program on Negotiation faculty member Sheila Heen reminds us in her book Difficult Conversationsthat apologies have two functions in conflict management: demonstrating contrition and taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions. No matter the dispute, it is often necessary for someone to take the lead in pursuing collaborative change in conflict resolution.
Negotiation and bargaining isn’t limited to the business world. There are many situations where personal conflict management skills are helpful. We received a question regarding this topic recently.
Q: My former spouse of 18 years and I had an explosive breakup a year ago. After failing to overcome our mutual hostility during divorce mediation, we have … Read More
This highly-interactive, online course is designed to raise your awareness of your own approach to conflict, introduce a range of theories about mediation and participatory processes, and improve your conflict management skills. While we will discuss a wide range of dispute resolution processes that involve third parties, we will focus on mediation.
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When negotiators get along well, creative problem solving is easy. When they become upset, however, they seem to forget everything they know about finding joint gain, to the point of giving up tangible wins simply to inflict losses on the other party. This is especially true in high-profile negotiations that turn nasty.
… Read More
Negotiation research suggests that e-mail often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes. Here is a case study of conflict management and negotiation about the challenges of building rapport with your counterpart when negotiating online.
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Negotiating effectively with colleagues can be more challenging than dealing with outsiders. Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute … Read More
Here are ten popular business negotiation articles on the Program on Negotiation website. Drawn from a variety of negotiation case studies as well as negotiation research, the following articles offer strategies for engaging in integrative negotiations aimed at creating win-win scenarios for each party at the negotiation table.
1. What is the Right of First Refusal?
Rights … Read 10 Popular Business Negotiation Articles
When closing a deal, new business partners are typically optimistic about the path ahead. But somewhere down the line, conflict is almost inevitable. One party may miss a deadline. The two sides may interpret contract terms differently. Changing economic conditions may make it difficult for one side to uphold its end of the deal.
When a … Read More
During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that … Read More
The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The Pullman Strike Role Play is a simulation from the Workable Peace Curriculum Series unit on the rise of organized labor in the United States.
This role play is set in the town of Pullman, Illinois, outside of Chicago, … Read The beginning of organized labor