conflict management skills
What are Conflict Management Skills?
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 Conversations that 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.
When you download the New Conflict Management: Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies to Avoid Litigation you will learn how wise negotiators extract unexpected value using an indirect approach to conflict management.
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