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Conflict Management Strategy: Collaboration

The definition of Conflict Management from is, “The practice of recognizing and dealing with disputes in a rational, balanced and effective way.” Conflict management implemented within a business environment usually involves effective communication, problem re-solving abilities,and good negotiating skills to restore the focus to the company’s overall goals.

There are many ways people deal with conflict resolution including avoidance; smoothing and accommodation; compromise; competition and authoritative command; and collaboration and problem-solving.

Out of these responses collaboration and problem-solving is the one that provides the most direct route to a win/win situation, unlike avoidance, which typically leads to a lose/lose result.

Collaboration in the workplace is when two or more people (or groups) work together through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal. Collaboration requires an open discussion of all issues and concerns relating to clearly identified issues or goals. The persons involved are able to surface concerns in a non-threatening way while exploring possible solutions to the desired outcomes. Creativity, honesty, and commitment from all involved lead to the most successful results.

Three themes for all of us to keep in mind when collaborating are:

  • Being open-minded during brainstorm sessions to ensure all ideas are heard and considered.
  • Knowing that collaborating is a choice and not something that is being forced upon us to achieve the best result.
  • All participating are on equal grounds during the process. Collaboration is best achieved when “titles are left at the door,” so discussion can truly flow and ideas come from all those involved in the process.

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