In business, there are going to be times when conflicts arise. This is simply common place when different people with different goals are thrust together. However, conflicts need not be negative; it’s how we approach different conflicts that often turn them into negative situations. Learning how to approach conflict resolution the right way can instead transform them into positive and rewarding experiences that end up benefiting both parties.
Conflict resolution has been the subject of much study and has led to many theories and approaches being formulated. The two main theories of conflict resolution are the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) and the Interest-Based Relational approach (IBR).
The TKI Approach
The TKI approach was formed in the 1970s by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann; it recognises that there are five main styles of conflict and by understanding these styles you can apply different approaches that are best suited to resolve the conflict style you are faced with.
The five styles of conflict that they identified are:
The IBR Approach
The IBR approach instead recognises that conflicts are best resolved when you remove the person and your own personal views and feelings from problem; instead focusing on creating mutual respect and a more constructive and united approach towards resolution. With this ethos at its core, the IBR approach follows a set of rules that should be applied to the conflict at hand, these are:
- Make sure that good relationships are the first priority
- Keep people and problems separate
- Pay attention to the interests that are being presented
- Listen first; talk second
- Set out the "Facts"
- Explore options together
You can read more about these two approaches in this post by Mind Tools.
Having studied and practiced both approaches, as well as many others, we have formulated our very own approach towards conflict resolution. At the heart of our approach are a series of rules that we teach as part of the Momenta Performance Academy, a few key rules include:
- Confront the problem, not the person - It is important to separate the problem from the person so as not to let personal feelings and opinions cloud the path to resolution.
- Listen and respect - Listen first and show that you are interested in hearing their side of events. This creates respect and helps break down any negative feelings.
- Agree on the problem - By listening and reviewing, come to a mutual agreement of what the problem is. By coming to an agreement on where the problem lies you know longer have a conflict; just the need for a solution.
- Work together to resolve - With a problem agreed you can then constructively work together to brainstorm and identify a solution that suits both parties. And remember, one happy party is not a resolution!
Everyone’s a winner
Our approach teaches our clients to be more confident and therefore more successful when conflicts arise; transforming the once negative process into one that is both positive and beneficial for both parties. In short, everyone’s a winner!