I know this sounds weird, but I love teaching classes on conflict. Because it’s so freakin’ stressful and most of us don’t like dealing with it. So, we avoid it. (See EP 54 Conflict Sucks ). And there are some darn good reasons, sadly we don’t think of the long term damage that lingering conflict does to trust and rapport. And our stress levels.
In this episode think about a recent conflict that you’ve had, or perhaps one that you had to coach an employee on. Which is also an important perspective, because research suggests that when we are good role models for conflict, our employees become more effective at it as well. The dark side is that most employees don’t think their managers are good at it. Yikes. This is an important area to master.
Do you have the example in mind? I am going to share 6 common types of conflict. I am not sure of the original source for these types and their explanation. I’m confident that that you’ll see how they align in your scenario, they make so much sense.
And the important part of knowing the type? You’ll be better equipped to navigate the conflict. I won’t say it will be easy, but it will be easier if you know foundationally where the conflict is coming from.
The first type of conflict is interpersonal.
The second is a difference in goals.
Number three is about limited resources. This is about scarcity. Whenever we don’t have enough money, time or resources.
The fourth is about values.
Number five is about performance problems.
And the last, number six, is about power struggles. A power struggle is any use of power in a way that is not constructive.
Now that I’ve described the six, which were incorporated in your example? There absolutely can be more than one, and yes, all six can sometimes be involved. If this happens, we have to determine which is at the core, or which is most actionable in terms of starting the conversation to navigate the conflict.
It’s important to know this, and be clear on what the conflict is, and also what it isn’t. Because this makes our strategy to resolve the conflict more deliberate. Like when your mom told you to avoid the values discussions. This is an excellent conflict choice when the value doesn’t affect our work or the quality of the outcomes we need to produce together.
When it’s a matter of limited resources, compromise can be an excellent strategy. Compromise is something that most of us are used to doing, it’s a form of bargaining, we look at the facts and data and make choices, with both parties bending a little to get to an acceptable solution.
And sometimes, it’s okay to accommodate to someone else. Let them have their way, so to speak, especially when it causes no particular harm to you (remember Jo, messy and disorganized and still gets it done, you can choose to let this go—it’s just Jo).
Next time you or those around you are in a conflict, remember the six types:
Identify which are occurring and use this as a foundation for the discussion and the strategy you use to resolve the conflict.
NOTE: For more insight on how you handle conflicts, consider the Everything DiSC Conflict assessment for you or your team. This tool helps individuals curb destructive behaviors so that conflict can become more productive, ultimately improving workplace results and relationships.