Read Time

10 mins


Every person has his own way of thought and has a different outlook on issues. If there is any collective task, teamwork or project going on in a specific workplace, there will probably be a chance of conflict of ideas and thoughts. It is a kind of obvious thing. Where there are humans, there are conflicts.

No doubt, conflicts can affect projects and tasks in adverse ways. They ruin the real purpose of it and leaves it hollow and meaningless. It is necessary to cope with conflicts before they can tarnish the whole atmosphere. A good project or task manager must know the subtle art of handling conflicts. Only then he will be able to move his/her team forward and achieve productive results out of it.


Conflict Management Strategies

In order to cope with conflicts, Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann presented five strategies. These five points have been very useful, and a project manager needs to apply them, if he really wants a conflict to be eliminated. 


There are two behaviors of solving a conflict



Assertiveness means to act in way to secure one’s own interests.


Cooperativeness is preferring the opinions of others while there is a conflict in between. 


What are the five conflict management strategies?



Avoiding any conflict is to ignore, which means you don’t really want to confront it.  Avoiding means you have just stepped aside from the problem and you

haven’t found the solution for it yet. Avoiding doesn’t solve a problem 

PROS: Avoiding will somehow lessen the problems in your way. Which means temporarily you aren’t having any problems with the conflict.

CONS: You need to find a solution for a conflict in order to cope with it. Avoiding isn’t a better option. Avoiding means you have left it for the other day, and you are going to face it tomorrow again.


Suppose you got an assignment from your teacher. You were told to submit the assignment within two days. You didn’t go for it today and decided it to get it done tomorrow. So tomorrow you’re going to do it otherwise your deadline will be over.  What we can conclude is that someday you’ll have to do it. There is no escape. Delaying something doesn’t solve an issue, it just saves it for tomorrow.


2- Accommodating

Accommodating means to prefer interests and wishes of another individual over your own interests. Being accommodating is being cooperative. Accommodating can somehow lessen the conflicts of the other side, except for you.  

PROS: Accommodating is a step towards understanding each other and can minimize conflicts up to some extent.

CONS: There is chance of becoming dominant. More assertive members can arise to grab their own interests. The more they become dominant, the more you are overshadowed by problems.



There is a boy continuously asking his father to buy him a gadget. His father is financially unstable, and he knows there are going to be problems, but he still does agree in order to meet the happiness of the child.


3. Compromising

Each member of the group gives up something so that every member of the group gets an equal share in securing interests. Compromising can help everyone secure their interests-not all of them but some of it equally- in the best possible way. Although it isn’t a proper solution to the problem, but it still helps in lessening the conflict and can it peacefully.

PROS: To some extent it is the best way. It can make all the groups happy to some extent if not that much

CONS: Although compromising cannot be a solution to the problem, but still no one would be happy with the resolution.


If a teacher, asks you to sit in back and makes another class fellow of yours sit in the front. The problem will be solved, but your front seat will no more belong to you. 


4. Competing

Sometimes group members with assertive behavior use the “competing “strategy. Competing just includes securing own interests which is completely assertive and totally uncooperative. The concept of winning and losing make them do whatever they need to in order to fully secure the interests.  

PROS: A person can get a maximum garb on his personal interests.

CONS: If we look at the other side. There will be some members in darkness, completely deprived of their interests.


Competition has a simple rule, one loses the other wins. Suppose two students are struggling to get first position. The one who secure top marks will be awarded with the topper prize – not everyone. So, the one who secure full of his interests will only enjoy the comforts while leaving others in dark.


5. Collaborating

Collaborating is the best possible way and can end a conflict in a better way than any strategy ever would. A collaborative group member is assertive and cooperative both. That means he can understand both sides of the picture. All the group members share a solution to the conflict and solve the problem together

PROS: Every member can secure his/her interests in a best possible way.

CONS: Members with assertive behavior don’t find it useful.


If there is a fight between two students in a class on some issue. The teacher calls them to his office. Asks for the reason of fight and then bring both the students to a mutual understanding. Which makes them both satisfied and agreed on the decision.


Conflicts have the full authority to ruin the culture of group tasks, projects and teamwork etc. No one can achieve any better results out of It. If there is any conflict going on in between, there will be no positive results. The aforesaid strategies are the best possible ways to deal with conflicts specially, collaboration. It can be the best solution to a conflict. Through collaboration, members can discuss issues, figure out a plan and act on the plan to resolve the issue. As said before, it includes both assertiveness and cooperativeness which keep the members of the group neutral. Listen attentively and try to understand the whole issue. Figure out where the fault lies. Even if you disagree, be professional. Try to be cooperative than being assertive. As a famous saying goes “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it”. So, if you need to find peace, you need to solve the conflict. And peace only dwells, when you start working on the problem.