Posted by Jody Raines on Dec 18, 2012 9:01:00 PM

Managers: Critical Thinking And Conflict Resolution

Conflicts can be resolved more easily if critical thinking skills are utilized.

Conflicts result in social and economic costs. Conflict resolution by managers can reduce wasted expense and streamline processes.  Training managers in critical thinking skills can result in more successful conflict resolution. For example, using mediation for conflict resolution can result in reduced litigation. Training conflict resolution techniques involves using critical thinking skills to circumvent escalation and prevent additional issues.


Understanding the methods of conflict resolution creates a non-emotional and cognitive way to create distance between critical thinkers and the conflict.

Taking a step back to review a conflict from a less contentious vantage point is important for critical thinking. Utilizing higher thinking skills instead of emotion can streamline the path to clear decision-making.

Critical thinking includes evaluating and understanding why a point of view differs from another. The ability to listen, observe and interpret information including understanding body language and tone is an important managerial skill. 

The ability to observe, listen accurately and analyze incoming information during a conflict  is key to conflict resolution.

Critical thinking involves integrating information to evaluate conflict and then resolve the conflict using solutions or resolutions that have been successful previously.

Some types of conflict resolution include:

  1. Collaboration - "I win, you win"  Fundamental premise: Teamwork and cooperation help everyone achieve their goals while also maintaining relationships.

  2. Compromise - "You bend, I bend"  Fundamental premise: Winning something while losing a little is OK.  Both ends are placed against the middle in an attempt to serve the "common good" while ensuring each person can maintain something of their original position.

  3. Accommodation - "I lose, you win"  Fundamental premise: Working toward a common purpose is more important than any of the peripheral concerns; the trauma of confronting differences may damage fragile relationships.  Appease others by downplaying conflict, thus protecting the relationship.

  4. Competition - "I win, you lose"  Fundamental premise: Associates "winning" a conflict with competition.  When goals are extremely important, one must sometimes use power to win.

  5. Avoidance "No winners, no losers"   Fundamental premise: This isn't the right time or place to address this issue.

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Topics: corporate training, corporate training program, corporate consulting, conflict resolution, critical thinking, training conflict resolution techniques

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