Do all conflicts need to be resolved in the same way? Any rational person will agree that this is an absurd question. Since conflicts occur due to difference of opinions between two persons, and no two persons are alike, it is obvious that the mode of conflict resolution too will, as the Kraybill Conflict Style indicates, vary from person to person.
This is particularly true in a corporate or office setting where people have relationships based on functions as opposed to a family environment where relationships are based primarily on emotions.
People take up jobs for money and will move on to better-paying jobs if they can find them. This is something that every office worker understands. In such a scenario, resolving conflicts need not follow the set pattern of open-hearted discussions between the persons involved in the conflict leading to a consensus that ultimately resolves the root cause of the conflict.
There can be an alternate and equally effective mode for conflict resolution—avoidance or, in simple words, agree to disagree. What is the point of investing time and effort into harmonization when you can simply avoid the person or the cause of conflict altogether?
Don’t want to interact with the other person with whom you have just had a conflict or dispute? Ask your subordinate or colleague to step in. Struggling to cope with the demands of a particularly irate client? Ask your boss to, as an exception, step in and handle the client directly.
In the above-mentioned examples, the root cause of the conflict doesn’t go away. You don’t become best friends with the conflicting colleague or don’t go out of your way to get into the good books of your client. You simply stop interacting with the other person and, thus, bring an end to the conflict immediately.
Morality teaches us that we should not fight and should have an amicable relationship with everybody. Real life teaches us that this is neither possible nor practical. In fact, trying to be moralistic about office disputes and conflicts may provide counterproductive.
You may end up spending time trying to undo the Gordian knot when the smarter and easier option would be to just cut the rope and move on with your work. So, the next time you feel frustrated about an office relationship, you just need to ask yourself whether the person or job is worth the effort.
Chances are high that you will realize that bypassing the issue and getting on with your work is the best conflict-resolution technique applicable to your situation.