When you’re faced with a specifific situation, there are five things to do to assess the scenario at hand before taking action—understand your counterpart; identify the type of conflict you’re facing; consider the organizational context; determine your goal; and, finally, pick one of the four options you’ll take to deal with this particular situation.The first time you analyze a conflict using these five steps it will take some time, but eventually the analysis will get easier. The goal is to be able to quickly do these steps in your head whenever a disagreement arises. Find out right the fifth step - Pick Your Option
Pick Your Option
Now it’s time to decide what to do. Taking into account your goal, and the other person’s natural tendency and communication style, which of the four options discussed is best for handling the specific situation you’re in?
There is no magic formula that tells you which approach to take. It’s not like two conflict seekers having a relationship conflict who want to restore a friendly rapport should always use the “address directly” approach.
The reality is that the option you choose depends on all of the above factors as well as other circumstances,
such as your office norms or the amount of time pressure you’re under. Play out each option in your head and assess the pros and cons for your specific situation. If you do nothing, will you be able to let go of the conflict? If you directly confront, will your counterpart be able to engage constructively? There is no one right answer; there’s just the one that’s right for you and the circumstances you’re in. (See also the sidebar “Know When to Walk Away.”)
Be mindful of your natural tendency
Because the conflict may have triggered a fight-or-flight response in your brain, your immediate response—“We need to address this right away” or “I’m going to find a new job”—may not be the best one. Conflict avoiders often gravitate toward the first two options (doing nothing or addressing the conflict indirectly), while seekers prefer the latter two (addressing directly or exiting). Keep this in mind when you’re choosing your option. Ask yourself whether you’re doing what’s best for the situation—and will most likely help you achieve your goal—or if you’re opting for an approach that’s most comfortable for you.
Cool down before deciding
Brett says that it’s wise to take a breather before choosing an approach. “Weighing whether to bring up
and try to resolve a conflict should be a rational decision.
The first question to ask yourself: Am I too emotional right now?” she says. If so, take a step back from the conflict. Return to your desk and take a few deep breaths.
Go for a walk outside. Or sleep on it. You want to be sure whatever route you choose is based on a lucid decision, not a rash one.
In a highly emotional conflict—in which one or both parties are extremely angry or upset—it can be tempting to exercise the exit option. But even situations in which feelings are running high can benefit from you opting to address it, or even doing nothing. Judith White says: “It’s natural for people to feel strong emotion in a conflict situation. Once the conflict is identified and addressed, and parties are allowed to vent, emotion usually dissipates . . . Recognize the emotion, but don’t let it stop you from negotiating.