I was a conflict management speaker at a financial services conference. We concluded that the most valuable skill needed to handle a conflict is not the ability to get along well; but the ability to fight well.
Most people push conflict under the carpet because they want to maintain positive relationships. In reality, not speaking up intensifies the growing animosity beneath the disagreement.
Before taking to the mats and fighting out conflict, it helps to classify the type of conflict so that you can know how to address it. As a conflict management speaker at the financial services conference, Here are the 4 basic types of conflict we discussed:
Facts. This is the easiest type of conflict to resolve, as it is simply a misunderstanding over details. Laying out the facts (and possibly backing them up) may resolve the issue.
Approach. This conflict gets a little bit more complicated. If you already agree on what needs to be done; now you need to come to terms on how to do it. To unravel the conflict, lay out all the potential procedures to achieve your goal and the pros and cons of each, to objectively define the best method.
Goals. If you are unclear on your objectives; conflict intensifies as so much is undefined. If your goal is not clear, you are dancing around undefined criteria and the conflict may never be resolved. Get really clear on your goals and than rally others for their input and support.
Values. This is the most volatile conflict. Disagreement evolves around very subjective, often deeply felt personal ideals. Some values may never align and here you have to agree to disagree. Decide if it's worth fighting over. Do you really need to sway someone to your side? If not, leave values alone and deal with facts and approach.
As a conflict management speaker, my program is called I Love My Job, It's the People I can't Stand! Check it out