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Win-Win Approach to Conflict Resolution

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I was reading about win-win conflict in the class textbook and think that the topic was very well stated however, I felt that in my 19 years in the Air Force and my 12 years of managerial leadership skills, there are more to the win-win approach than the book mentions. I further believe should be an instrumental part of this course study.

I’m going to address my reaction paper as the Win-Win Approach to Conflict Resolution. As a supervisor, manager, and a leader, I often think that the workplace would be an ideal place if everyone would just do their job and let me do mine and never have to deal with conflict. Reality in today’s society says, leaders and managers at all levels must address and resolve conflict.

In my 19 years of military service, I have found that majority of the time a win-win resolution to conflict was possible. It is usually not the case that one person’s or organization’s needs are completely opposed to another’s. Conflict is normally not about an individual or the businesses needs are not Usually there is a common goal or middle ground in which everyone can get enough of what they want that all involved are happy and become more productive.

A win-win resolution doesn’t take a whole lot of effort but it surely doesn’t happen on its own. The key to conflict resolution is attitude. Both parties must have the attitude to want to make the situation better and resolve the conflict. There must be sincerity in the desire to resolve the conflict. The individual must want to resolve the conflict while caring about the sensitivities of the people involved. If the individual lacks the time or interest, find someone to do it for you, a third party. Next becomes the buy-in from the individuals involved. The people involved in the conflict must be cooperative and participative. Finally, everyone must know that no resolution is too trivial. All issues and suggestions are raised in the course of conflict resolution just like the process of brainstorming.

Once the right attitude has been achieved, it is necessary to get to the root of the problem and conflict. Openly discussing the problem while documenting the issues so the individuals involved get freedom to be candid and vent their concerns without fear of reprisal. Once the issues are collected they must be accurately defined and accepted by all the individuals involved.

A timely delay after defining the problem, I found, is also key to giving the participants adequate time to mull over possible solutions. When you return to address the conflict, hopefully an adequate solution was the result. If not, then it is time to add restrictions or guidelines to the possible resolutions in order to reach a resolution and move the agenda along. Once the guidelines within which the conflict resolution must occur have been established, ask the participants to identify possible solutions within those guidelines. Many times people will come up with creative ideas for changes that do not negatively impact the success of the project, but do serve to resolve the problem.

Now hopefully a plan has evolved for resolving the conflict. Formulate a resolution that will be as acceptable as possible to those involved in the conflict. A resolution, which gives some consideration to everyone involved while still achieving the objectives of the organization, is optimal. Explain the resolution clearly to all those affected by it to ensure that there is no confusion or ambiguity regarding how the individuals and the organization are to proceed with implementing the resolution. It is likely that not everyone will be fully happy with all aspects of the resolution, but they may be satisfied enough that they will support the solution. Once the resolution has been implemented, observe the impact on the individuals and the organization. Make adjustments to the resolution or make additional changes as necessary to fully resolve the conflict.

Finally, if all else fails, agree that the situation is a problem. You can help alleviate some frustration by acknowledging that the situation is a problem and you can’t do anything about it now, but you will look for ways to improve the situation over time. The long elaborate process demonstrates your willingness to care and sometimes that may be enough to result in a more positive attitude resulting in reduced conflict and increased productivity.

I hope that my years of military leadership experience dealing with conflict provides you, Mr. Roper, another valuable insight to win-win conflict.

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