Thursday, May 7, 2009

Understanding Cooperative Resolution

Conflict occurs in every organization.

Organizations that successfully manage conflict can do so by resolving it cooperatively.

There are two means that effective leaders use to reach cooperative conflict resolution. They:
  • set preconditions to a cooperative resolution
  • follow the steps to a cooperative resolution.
Set preconditions to a cooperative resolution
Whenever there is a conflict between your employees, it's important to set the preconditions for cooperative resolution before any attempt is made to resolve the conflict.

This will help both parties in a conflict to separate the problem from the people involved, and work together for a mutually beneficial solution. Begin by meeting separately with each side and establishing the following preconditions for cooperative resolution.

Make certain that both parties understand that they can meet their own interests by helping others meet theirs.

Encourage both parties to come up with an alternate plan. It's important that neither side enter negotiations with a rigid mindset.

Make sure that both parties separate the people involved in the dispute from the dispute itself. Work-related problems that become personal disputes are more difficult to resolve.

Follow the steps to a cooperative resolution
Once the preconditions for a cooperative resolution are set, a leader should get the parties in a conflict to sit down together and follow the steps for a cooperative resolution. These are the four steps that a leader should follow:
  1. Conflicts often arise over simple misunderstandings. Taking time to eliminate all misunderstandings between parties in a conflict can make it much easier to reach a cooperative resolution.
  2. The second step is identifying and analyzing all issues and interests. This is an important step because it is easy to overlook issues in a conflict, yet difficult to find solutions if all issues are not identified.
  3. In the third step of the cooperative resolution process, leaders should help employees find integrative solutions. This type of solution allows both parties to win. As you negotiate for a mutually beneficial solution, you should make sure that neither party dominates and that both remain flexible.
  4. If unable to find a successful integrative solution, a leader should proceed to the fourth step. This involves revisiting each of the steps in an attempt to find a solution. If still unsuccessful, the leader makes the final decision.
To resolve conflicts between employees, it is important to follow the steps for reaching a cooperative resolution. To do this, you should eliminate misunderstandings, analyze the issues and interests of both sides, and find solutions that benefit both parties.

If a cooperative resolution is not found after following these steps, you should revisit the previous steps. If a solution is still not reached after revisiting all the steps, you will have to make the decision yourself.

By applying a variety of methods, you can resolve the conflicts between your employees cooperatively. How could these skills contribute to your own leadership abilities and to the success of your organization?

No comments: