team technology

Managing Conflict

The Win-Win Model

Who "wins" when you find a solution to a conflict?

The table below, the win-win model, shows four possible outcomes.

 Do you win?
Does the other person win?YSubmission ConcessionAssertiveness Negotiation
NAvoidance SabotageAggression Competition

When you are managing conflict as part of your project, whether with people inside or outside the project, and whether with customers or suppliers, the top-right box leads to the best solution for both parties, and ultimately the best solution for you.

Conflict, when it is managed constructively, can be very creative, resulting in an improvement in the quality of work done by the project. It makes everyone feel good and heightens motivation and commitment to your and the project's objectives.

All the the other boxes may result in personal gain for one person, but loss for someone else. In the long run, this introduces greater risk for the project and your influence deteriorates. Future conflicts become more difficult to resolve.

Although there are some circumstances where other approaches have to be taken, you should normally aim for a win-win solution to any conflict.

Avoiding unproductive conflict

The chances of being engaged in unproductive conflict can be reduced by appropriate use of a variety of techniques, some of which we have already covered, such as:

  • Active listening
  • Push/pull
  • Use of Humour
  • Building Rapport (negotiate face to face)
  • Bringing emotional levels down first
  • Cushion statements ("I see your point of view")
  • Sidestepping blockages (Changing the focus of discussion)
  • Accepting feedback (anything anyone says of you is true between 1 and 100%)


When you are faced with conflict, do you look after your own interests (win-lose) or do you try to find solutions that are beneficial for both parties (win-win)?

Wwe will now move from the "dealing with individuals" section of this course to "dealing with small teams". The next article in this online course is:

Project Management Training:
Soft Skills Part 9: Managing Conflict in Groups
Project Management Training: Soft Skills Tools

Project Management Training



Trust and Rapport


Winning Commitment


Using Power



Small Teams

Group Conflicts

Team Development

Managing Difference


Team Islands

In/Out Groups

Building the wider team

Large Projects

Project Culture

Putting it all together

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©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.