Five Basic Methods for Resolving Conflict

by ltconsulting on May 17, 2012

The role of the mediator is to help parties reach a solution to their problem and to arrive at an outcome that both parties are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. The focus of a mediation meeting is to reach a common sense settlement agreeable to both parties in a case.

For a mediator to be successful he or she must possess a wide range of skills. One of the most important, but perhaps least appreciated, is the ability to actively listen to what a party is saying and to note what the party is not saying. All too often we hear what we expect someone to say rather than what is actually said. It is a fundamental principle that mediators must not prejudge the case nor impose their own prejudices on the parties. Furthermore, a mediator has to be able to tune into “where the speaker is coming from” and read the “sub text” or hidden messages given out by the parties.

Five Basic Methods for Resolving Conflict

METHODS

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN USED:

 

APPROPRIATE T0 USE WHEN:

 

INAPPROPRIATE T0 USE WHEN:

 

DENIAL OR

WITHDRAWL

Person tries to solve problem by denying its existence.  Results in win/lose.

Issue is relatively unimportant; timing is wrong; cooling off period needed; short-term use.

Issue is important; when issue will not disappear, but will build.

SUPPRESSION

OR SMOOTHING

OVER

Differences are played down; surface harmony exists. Results in win/lose forms of resentment, defensiveness, and possible sabotage of issue remains suppressed.

Same as above, also when preservation of relationship is more important at the moment

Reluctance to deal with conflict leads to evasion of an important issue; when others are ready and willing to deal with issue.

POWER OR

DOMINANCE

One’s authority, position, majority rule, or a persuasive minority settles the conflict. Results in win/lose if the dominated party sees no hope for self.

When power comes with position of authority; when this method has been agreed upon.

Losers have no way to express needs; could result in future disruptions.

COMPRISE

OR

NEGOTIATION

Each party gives up something in order to meet midway.  results in win/lose if “middle of the road” position ignores the real diversity of the issue

Both parties have enough leeway to give; resources are limited; when win/lose stance is undesirable.

Original inflated position is unrealistic: solution is watered down to be effective: commitment is doubted by parties involved.

COLLABORATION

Abilities, values, and expertise of all are recogni­sed; each person’s position is clear but emphasis is on group solution. Results in win/win for all.

Time is avail­able to complete the process; parties are committed & trained in use of process.

The conditions of time, abilities, and commitment are not present.

Who will benefit from the course?

This course is of value to professionals and managers in organisations, wishing to introduce mediation to handle workplace conflict swiftly and cost effectively and who handle the following:

Delegates will learn how to:

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