In this episode, I discuss conflict resolution. I am going to specifically review 5 strategies that you can use in trying to resolve conflict, whether it be in your engineering job or life. The strategies that I am going to review are those of Thomas and Kilmann’s Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI).
Engineering Success quotes:
- Accommodating and Smoothing
- This strategy is a unassertive and co-operative approach.
- When accommodating, you’re going to neglect your own concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person.
- There is an element of self-sacrifice when you take this approach.
- Taking this approach is always a great way to foster positive communication in an attempt to resolve conflict.
- This is more of an unassertive and uncooperative approach.
- With this approach, you are going to deal with the problem.
- It might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue or postponing an issue until a better time or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.
- I don’t see a lot of positive uses for this strategy in the engineering world, with the exception of if there is a problem that has developed, but it doesn’t have to be addressed immediately, and in fact maybe better addressed later when the problem has had some time to work itself out.
- This can be both an assertive and co-operative approach. This is a win/win approach.
- This involves an attempt to work with others to find a solution that fully satisfies their concerns.
- Collaborating between two different parties might take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each others insights.
- This is a much more practical and realistic strategy for the engineering world.
- This strategy forces you to look at the desires and needs of each of the parties involved.
- Compromising and Negotiating
- This strategy can be associated as both an assertive and co-operative approach.
- The objective of this strategy is to find a mutually acceptable solution that will partially satisfy both parties.
- There must be a little bit of give and take in this strategy. It’s between the idea of competing with someone and accommodating someone, which can be appealing.
- This approach will allow you to address the issue more directly, than avoiding it.
- Competing or Forcing
- This approach is a very assertive and very uncooperative approach.
- This approach can be seen as an I win, you loose approach.
- This is where you would pursue your own concerns at the other person’s expense.
- This isn’t a route that you want to take often, because you don’t want to add negativity and friction to a situation, which could make a situation much worse.
More in this episode…
In the Take Action Today segment of the show, I will give you one extra very important guideline to conflict resolution.
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand – Colin Powell
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
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How can I Resolve Conflict in my Engineering Career and Life?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on resolving conflict in your engineering career and life.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success