Conflict is inevitable. It enters into all aspects of our lives, and at work, it can be especially distracting and disheartening. With that in mind, the career-development organization CPP set out to study which methods of conflict-resolution are most effective, and the results are quite interesting.
As Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., reports for Black Enterprise, the CPP team examined the call center at a major communications firm to determine whether certain conflict-resolution strategies lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Of the five models they looked at — all of which stem from something called the TKI assessment — two stood out from the rest.
The first, Mariama-Arthur reports, is called “collaborating.” Described as both “assertive” and “cooperative,” this method hinges on two warring parties sitting down and working toward a “mutually agreeable solution.” The logic here is pretty simple: When both people feel like they’re going to walk away from the negotiating table with a win, they’re more likely to bargain in good faith.
“As you work together through the pros and cons — and even some objections — you usually become less defensive,” Mariama-Arthur writes. “This allows parties to give over wins that make the most sense, all while still advocating for their individual positions.”
The other strategy takes the opposite tact. It’s called “accommodating,” and it’s all about satisfying another person’s concerns without worrying about your own. It’s “unassertive” and “cooperative,” and as Mariama-Arthur explains, it comes in handy in those situations when fighting just isn’t worth it. At work, as in all aspects of life, you sometimes have to choose your battles.
“The winning party enjoys this position because there isn’t much pushback on the terms,” Mariama-Arthur writes. “As long as what’s being asked for is not outrageous, it can certainly be worth it to just ‘give the people what they want.'”