3 Ways to Deal with Differences

“There are three ways of dealing with difference: domination, compromise, and integration. By domination only one side gets what it wants; by compromise neither side gets what it wants; by integration we find a way by which both sides may get what they wish…”
Mary Parker Follett

The above quote is an ideal reminder that there are multiple ways to deal with conflict. Is there a bias being displayed about the best way to resolve a conflict? Sure, in this instance the favored approach is integration.

What is integration? LetÂ’s substitute the word collaboration in place of integration. Now we are talking about the collaborative mode of resolving conflict. This means that you work with the other party or parties to find a solution that completely satisfies the concerns of all. It means all of you really have to dig and discuss and be honest about what is or is not working for you. This may not be easy but it is definitely rewarding.

What about domination? After all the quote mentions and discards domination as an approach. Well in place of domination go head and insert the word competing. This is the conflict resolution mode where you pursue your concerns at the expense of others; you use power to win your position. This is not always wrong! There are definitely times when it is OK to tell your team how a conflict is going to be resolved. This is specifically true when your team needs to work within clear safety guidelines or follow non-negotiable standards, processes or policies. It is what is and there is no room for debate.

Compromising might mean that you and the other party or parties split the difference. Maybe you adopt part of your proposed solution and part of their proposed solution. The problem can be that this hybrid solution might not be the actual best solution. It might just be the solution that calms everyone down and keeps the peace (for now).

Remember, we all have our favorite go-to conflict resolution styles and there is a time and a place where each mode is needed. The key to YOUR success in resolving differences is knowing what style to use and when.