Conflict Resolution Process
For Team Members(continued from Conflict Resolution)
The following process can help two or more parties in a conflict to play a game well and achieve a win-win. This process is designed for team members, where it is assumed that there is a degree of goodwill and some trust between them. This process may not be so appropriate for other types of conflict, such as between organisations - although the same principles of game theory apply, other variations on this process may be more relevant.
Following the above process means that those involved should:
- Clarify what the conflict is or the joint decision that needs to be made.
This helps prevent 'scope creep' in the discussion which makes the conflict endless, or the argument going round in circles because different people are trying to solve different problems
- Find out the win position of other parties.
- listening, without judging or arguing against the other parties' views.
- declaring your own win position so that other parties understand what you need.
- accepting others' win positions and not arguing with others' win positions
This can be difficult, because most people only see their only point of view and, in a conflict situation, emotion can make one blind to alternatives. In extreme cases, you may need to get each party to articulate/summarise the others' argument until the other party agrees with the summary. This is a very important stage and should not be rushed, because:
- It will be much easier to find a solution if everyone understands what everyone else needs from the situation (this is referred to as a game of "complete information" - not all games are as open as this, but in a team environment a complete sharing of information is a highly desirable goal).
- This stage (done properly) ensures that any conflict is based on real differences and not misperceptions.
This is to generate creative ideas for meeting the desires of both/all parties. (Classic brainstorm rules mean you should generate ideas without evaluating them - eg: do not express disagreement with ideas at this point in the process).
If, after evaluation, no ideas meet the win criteria of both parties, then:
- Declare how you might be prepared to compromise your win position. Ask other parties to declare how they might also be prepared to compromise.
- Reevaluate the ideas to see if any of them meet the new, compromise positions.
Finally, once agreement is reached then don't skip the final step - articulating the conclusion. If you don't ensure everyone remembers what the final decision was and why, you may get more conflict in the future (memories tend to be subjective).