Competition is a style in which the meeting facilitator or leader views results as being more important than people. In this style, conflict is always ended with a winner, and a loser. Competition may be the best response to conflict in the following situations:
- A decision or action must be immediate
- The parties in the conflict expect and appreciate the force or power necessary in a win / lose situation
- Combatants recognize a clearly defined differentiation and are looking for leadership
- It’s not necessary at that point in time for the leader to assert him/herself in order to keep the meeting moving forward
TIP: Every organization has people who may try to take over the meeting by being contrary on a very basic and predetermined point, such as, “I think the issue is x, rather than y, so discussing y is a moot point.” You can see how this attempt to frame the meeting could quickly and easily derail the discussion, as well as undermine the leader of the meeting. The competition approach to dealing with this is to let them know that the purpose of the meeting is not to define the issue – the issue has already been defined – and it’s not open for discussion.
TRAP: The competition approach can leave the “loser” feeling negative, as the issue they raised is generally left unresolved. If these negative emotions aren’t properly managed, the solution may be temporary and other participants may detect a lack of compassion. This could limit their involvement and cooperation for the remainder of the meeting.