Do You Know All Your Options?
Conflict is an everyday part of life in the UK Grocery Industry. Discounters are growing. New stores are hard to come by. Employees want salary raises. Bosses want bonuses. Shoppers expect value for money. Resolving conflict is, therefore, an essential part of life in the UK Grocery Industry. Here are 8 methods of conflict resolution – Do you know all your options?
1. Resolving Conflict: Unilateral Decision
No, we’re not giving in, that’s it’. We’ve all heard the stories of a big brand and a supermarket getting to the point where one has decided to delist the product or stop the supply of the product until the other party yields.
- Advantage: Shows strength and resolve.
- Disadvantage: The other party may call your bluff and it is not good for long-term relationships.
2. Resolving Conflict: Persuasion
‘It’s a no-brainer, you should do it’. Persuading someone to do something that they may not want to do is undoubtedly a skill that can be learnt- see our guide on Influencing Skills. To illustrate, some top tips from the experts are 1. Actively listen to their point, 2. Find common ground, and 3. Use the power of ‘because’.
- Advantage: It’s free.
- Disadvantage: Success is usually low unless you are a persuasive master!
3. Resolving Conflict: Haggling/Bartering
‘I’ll meet you halfway’. Most of us haggle when we go to the markets, where it is the norm. In the UK we sometimes haggle when we want to agree on something and we believe we are negotiating, but we are not, we are haggling.
- Advantage: Haggling is a sound method for conflict resolution, but don’t believe that it is negotiating.
- Disadvantage: It will cost you ‘meeting halfway’.
4. Resolving Conflict: Arbitration
‘Ok, let’s ask them for their opinion’. Not something we hear much of in the UK Grocery Industry unless the ‘Competitions and Markets Authority’ are involved. Occasionally you might hear, ‘Let’s get another perspective on this’, which is very valid.
- Advantage: An effective method of resolving a conflict.
- Disadvantage: You might lose because it is 50:50.
5. Resolving Conflict: Postponement
‘We’ll come back to this at the next meeting with a plan’. Our observations of learners on our negotiation training course, for instance, is that most people looking to resolve a conflict opt for agreeing that a plan will be presented at the next meeting. This is usually a postponement where the two parties come back to the original points once again, with, again little resolution.
- Advantage: Sometimes a postponement allows people to ‘cool off’ and/or revisit the problem another way.
- Disadvantage: Postponements that are used to get away from dealing with the problem are not useful in resolving the conflict.
6. Resolving Conflict: Problem Solve
‘I’ve got an idea, how about if we…?’. Problem-solving is where the majority of conflict resolution takes place.
- Advantage: A mutually beneficial solution is a great way to solve conflict because both parties usually win.
- Disadvantage: You may not find a suitable solution for both parties and it requires both parties to want to problem solve.
7. Resolving Conflict: Total Surrender
‘Ok, we’ll agree to the deal’. Total Surrender is where one party gives in to the other party by giving up, waving the white flag, and agreeing to the other party’s demands.
- Advantage: The advantages of this method are limited; as a result, they are likely reduced to the chance that you might get some payback in a later deal.
- Disadvantage: You lose the lot!
8. Resolving Conflict: Negotiation
‘If you…then I…’. This tool is very simple and is a must in any negotiators’ toolbox. If you do something for me, then I will do something for you. We see negotiating as trading. Yes, there’ s a lot more to it. Essentially, therefore, it is about ‘giving to get’. Trading what you have for what they have to get and aiming for a win:win outcome.
- Advantage: Both parties can win.
- Disadvantage: The better negotiator gets more. So for that reason, our ‘Negotiating with Buyers‘ Masterclass will help!
How to Improve Your Conflict Resolution Skills
How do you handle team conflict? What are the skills needed for resolving conflict? How can conflict resolution skills be improved in the workplace? Hopefully arriving at this point you feel you have a better understanding of conflict resolution.
Also, you have started to answer some of these questions. The easiest way to further develop your conflict management skills is to attend a conflict management training session on the core skills and behaviours. This will help you understand the theoretical models in the classroom. However, it is really important that you apply the skills.
In team situations, it is important that we get people talking and building trust with each other. This could be in more formal meetings, over lunch, coffee out of the office, or a team-building event.
Would you like to read this post in Spanish? – Spanish version.