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Conflict Resolution

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace: Conflict Negotiation Strategies

April 11, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Conflict Resolution

It may sound obvious but any kind of attempt to negotiate your way out of a conflict situation always involves having a conversation with one or more individuals and ensuring that you win their interest in what you have to say. You’ll very rarely do this by being negative or manipulative in your approach. You should therefore always bear in mind the ‘what’s in it for me’ or “WIIFM” factor that is often uppermost in people’s mind and try to view the conflict negotiation to be done from the other person’s point of view.

We should always also remember that a conflict negotiation is a two-way process. It’s not all about asking others to do you a favor or “win the communication battle” but to arrive at a mutual satisfactory outcome for all concerned if at all possible. In others words, you should not expect the other person(s) to help you unless you are prepared to go some way towards helping them.

When there is a conflict between what one person wants and another, there is little medium to long -term benefit to be gained (even if you are the boss) in making the discussion a battle of wills, manning positions and digging in.  Instead, an effective manager seeks to bring a fair and reasonable approach to the problem.  To do this well, one of the best approaches to use, especially if you know the other party’s needs is to use the “if..then” statements.

At the simplest level “If …then” statements are a simple “trade” in which one party (lets say the manager) asks the other party to give something in order to get something in return. For example, this generally takes the form of “if you do this for me then how about I do that for you-what do you think?” The benefit of this approach (as long as it is done calmly and with an even matter-of-fact voice and body language) is that it invites the other party to enter into a bargaining or exchanging type of approach. This does not mean that he or she will also accept your bargain (and may come back with his or her own if..then statement) but at least you are then moving closer together and the conflict is diminishing.

The featured video clip is a short excerpt from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder eLearning program, Conflict Resolution: An RSB eLearning Course.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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