Productive Conflict: Seeking an Active Resolution

Bart’s team is stuck in a conflict cycle. It’s been weeks now, and a resolution hasn’t been reached. In fact, sides have been taken and the team is split in three different ways. Janice, Becky, and Rodney think that customer support needs to be completely overhauled—new scripts, new training, new management, a whole new direction. Evan, Cristina, and Gabriel think customer support only needs minor changes and the management is doing fine. They’re meeting their goals, after all. Kent and Olivia withdraw from the conflict when it gets heated and haven’t offered much in the way of their opinions. Meetings end with the topic being tabled until next week. The non-resolution is having negative effects on the executive team, for sure, but it’s also affecting the customer support team.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

When active resolutions don’t happen, conflict drags on and affects everyone involved.

When they do happen, however, everyone begins to deal with the changes and move forward.

What is an active resolution? How is it different from compromise?

Compromise can be part of an active resolution, but it’s not necessarily the goal.

The goal of an active resolution is to find a way forward that everyone can live with, even though they aren’t totally on board. It’s also a situation where everyone is clear on what parts of the resolution they have issues with, without dwelling on them going forward.

Finding an active resolution may come more naturally to this with the i style and S style than for those with the D style or C style.

This is the 17th post in an 18-part series discussing positive conflict behaviors. Effective leaders encourage productive conflict and discourage unproductive conflict. Follow along as we explore the positive impact of these behaviors.

Part 1: Finding the Root of the Problem
Part 2: Apologize
Part 3: Listen to Differing Perspectives
Part 4: Bring in a Neutral Perspective
Part 5: Separate Emotion from Fact
Part 6: Own Your Contributions
Part 7: Offer Reassurance
Part 8: Find a Compromise
Part 9: Give Others Time and Space
Part 10: Acknowledge the Feelings of Others
Part 11: Revisit Unresolved Issues
Part 12: Pause & Reflect
Part 13: Be Flexible
Part 14: Communicate Respectfully
Part 15: Be Open and Honest
Part 16: Be Aware of your Own Feelings

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