Conflicts occur every day in the R&D team:
- (C1) Meeting to discuss the technical solution of the website, Zhang San insisted on using Node.js + Express + MongonDB + AngularJS + Bootstrap, Li Si must use the classic LNMP…
- (C2) There is a bug, the front-end Wang Wu feels that it is a back-end problem. The back-end Zhao Liu feels that it is a front-end problem. The two are not arguing, and no one wants to fix it…
- (C3) Ajin found that Yuan Datou was behind schedule and asked him to work overtime. Yuan Datou had no way to promise to work overtime…
- (C4) Sun Ba denied a need for technical reasons, but the product manager believes that this effect will seriously affect the user experience must be done…
- (C5) Qian Jiu and Lu XIII because of the value of an interface parameter or a reference in the office…
- (C6) Leaders arrange for your department to suspend the upcoming project, research new projects, you are emotionally unacceptable, and want to wait for the project to be released before starting a new project. The leader explained to you the importance of the new project to the company. Meaning, and informed its urgency, you agreed after the measurement…
- (C7) The live streaming media system on the line has a crash bug, irregular, one or two times a day, Wang Fei is responsible for fixing this bug, he added a null pointer in a piece of code to judge, tested for two days, the problem is no longer appear. As a manager, you think he didn’t find the real reason. I hope he will continue to investigate the problem and solve it from the root cause…
If you are a manager, or you are a party, what do you do?
>> Thomas-Kilman conflict model
The Thomas-Kilman conflict model (proposed in 2003) is the world’s leading conflict resolution method. It divides five common conflict management methods from the two aspects of persistence and cooperation: competition, avoidance, concession, compromise. And cooperation. As shown below:
Let’s briefly explain the five conflict handling methods.
competition : Highly persistent and non-cooperative, also known as coercive strategy, refers to sacrificing the interests of some members in exchange for their own interests or the overall interests of the team. It is characterized by positive conflicts, direct disputes, quarrels, or other forms of confrontation. In order to win at any cost.
Avoidance : Do not persist or cooperate. The two parties to the conflict are aware of the existence of the conflict, but try to ignore and abandon the conflict, do not take any measures to cooperate with the other party, and do not protect their own interests, hoping to hide.
Concession : Failure to adhere to and maintain cooperation means that one party is willing to put the requirements and interests of the other party above their own requirements and interests, make self-sacrifice, and enable the other party to achieve the goal, thus maintaining a friendly relationship.
compromise : Moderate cooperation, moderate adherence. Both parties to the conflict have given up some of the requirements and benefits, but at the same time they have saved some of the requirements and interests. It is characterized by no obvious winners and losers, who are willing to share conflict issues and accept a solution that neither party can fully satisfy. The basic goals of both parties to the conflict can be achieved, the relationship between them can be maintained well, and the conflict can be resolved temporarily, but it is also possible to leave behind the hidden dangers of the next conflict.
Cooperation : Highly adherent and highly cooperative. Both parties to the conflict consider and maintain their own requirements and interests, fully consider and safeguard each other’s interests, maximize the interests of both parties, and finally reach a consensus. The mode of cooperation is characterized by mutual respect and trust between the two parties to the conflict, giving high attention to the interests of themselves and others, frank communication, clarifying differences, and committing to a win-win situation. The way of cooperation can completely eliminate conflicts.
>> How managers deal with team conflicts
Now let’s take a look at the importance and urgency of things from the perspective of managers, and under what circumstances should we adopt conflict resolution strategies.
Note that if the manager is not one of the parties to the conflict (such as C1), then the manager must resolve the conflict, and the contradictory relationship will evolve due to the intervention of the manager:
- Managers stand on one side’s position and persuade or force the other to resolve the conflict.
- The manager does not stand on the side of either party and guides the parties to the conflict to adopt a conflict resolution method.
- The manager disagreed with the original methods of the two parties to the conflict and proposed a new plan, and the conflict became multi-party. When managers use a competitive (mandatory) strategy to resolve conflicts, they will force both parties.
When things are important and urgent, and decisions must be made quickly, managers can adopt competitive strategies and enforce conflict resolution.
Like the conflict of C2, if this bug is very urgent, it must be repaired that day, and it will go online in the early morning. The manager can use a competitive strategy (mandatory strategy) to force Wang Wu to resolve from the front end (because it is faster and easier to test and update).
Conflicts like C1, if Zhang San and Li Si are just sticking to their own ideals for technical ideals without considering the reality of the team. As a technical manager, you know that after a week of discussions, the development time of the project will be very urgent, even You will miss the delivery period, then you can force the termination of the discussion, come up with a reasonable plan in your heart, give reasons, and ask everyone to adopt.
Conflicts such as C5 that have risen to the level of shackles or limbs, as managers, should immediately take enforcement measures to physically separate the parties to the conflict and avoid further adverse effects. After separating the two parties to the conflict, come back to understand the reasons for the conflict, and then mediate between the two parties, or compulsory treatment according to the company’s rules and regulations, such as fines, dismissal, etc.
When things are important but not urgent, you can work hard to resolve conflicts in a cooperative manner.
Going back to C1 conflicts, if the current stage is in the pre-research and selection stage of technology, and there are still 2 weeks from the end of this stage, then as a manager, you can let Zhang San and Li Si continue to compete. You can clarify the objectives of the project. Set the factors to be considered and guide everyone to analyze around the project objectives, so that conflicts can be resolved in a cooperative way through the mutual argumentation of team members.
In this way, conflicts can be resolved in a cooperative manner.
The avoidance strategy can be used in the following situations:
- Conflict events are insignificant, unimportant and urgent;
- There is no way to solve the problem at all;
- The time to solve the problem is not yet mature, and collecting information is more important than making immediate decisions;
- Both sides of the conflict are in irrational emotions;
- Dealing with this conflict can lead to a bigger conflict.
When others bring you trouble, but you can bear this kind of trouble, you really understand that the benefits of conflicts are more important. If you are willing to maintain the harmony of the relationship rather than the rational right or wrong, you can adopt a concession strategy to solve conflict.
Yuan Datou in C3 adopted a concession strategy to solve the conflict that “leaders want to work overtime and he does not want to add” because he feels that the progress of the project is more important.
As a manager, if there is a conflict between team members, the matter itself is not so important or urgent, but both parties are not willing to give in and find a solution for you. At this time, you can understand the demands of both parties and see if they can communicate. Let the party make concessions and finally let the conflict be resolved in a way that is concession.
If you have a conflict with a team member, you can also consider whether the conflict is not important. Do you have to insist on your own requirements? If it is not necessary or has little impact, don’t be on such matters and team members. The whole of you will live and die, make appropriate concessions, let the developers meet the requirements, and promote the relationship between you.
This is also a point that technology managers should be aware of: not everything has the principle that must be adhered to, not necessarily when you have to win subordinates.
The compromise strategy can be used in the following situations:
- Goals are important but too much insistence may have even worse consequences;
- The other party made a promise and no longer had a similar problem;
- Time is very urgent and a compromise must be adopted as soon as possible. The issue is not a matter of principle;
- The problem is very complicated and it is difficult to solve it perfectly within the required time limit;
- Things are urgent but not very important, or they are non-principal issues.
C7 conflicts often occur in software development teams. Many software systems have bugs, and they can’t find the real reason. They have to stick plasters to avoid problems. This does not solve the problem at all, but considering the time limit of the online defect, or the delivery deadline of the version, you can only choose to compromise – that is, accept the repair method of the plaster.
But as a technology leader, you must be aware that this way of plastering has a problem – because the problem is not really solved, the code that the programmer adds similar plaster, it is likely to just block the trigger. Under certain conditions, there are likely to be other conditions that trigger a bug, and at some point in the future, it will detonate the bug again. So, when this time-critical event has passed, you still have to arrange for the owner of the bug to find the real reason.
As a manager, conflict handling is a compulsory course. Only by properly handling conflicts can we maintain relationship health, promote teamwork, and shape team culture. When you face the conflict again, be sure to stop and think about it:
- What is the cause of the conflict?
- Which way are I going to handle the conflict?
- Is there a better way to handle it?
This will help you resolve conflicts in the right way and avoid serious adverse effects on your team.