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Using ‘Accommodation’ as a Conflict Resolution Tactic

We’ve discussed that there are different ways to deal with conflict, particularly in meetings (face-to-face). The first tactic, avoidance, has its uses and pitfalls, particularly for leaders, as it can be interpreted as the sign of a weak leader. But when used at the right time, it can be a very effective way to keep a meeting moving forward.

Accommodation is another way to deal with conflict in meetings. This is a style regularly used by those who are deeply concerned for others. The objective of accommodation is to make everyone happy, and is a style often used by people who believe that open conflict is extremely destructive, and that good outward relationships must be maintained at all costs.

Accommodation may be the best response when:

  • The issue is minor
  • The damage to the relationship would harm both parties
  • The temporary reduction of conflict is needed to give time for additonal research of information
  • If tempors are too hot for a productive discussion

The Key to Accommodation

The key to accommodation is to acquiesce and make people happy. When you accommodate someone, it’s a good idea to make sure they know so that they’ll be less likely to continue to ask for things later in the meeting. (It’s almost as if they’ve used up their favors.)

Tip: If someone raises an issue that is tangential and not really related to the core topic of the meeting, you can acknowledge the importance of the issue and offer to schedule a different time / place / meeting to discuss it in more detail to accommodate the request.

Trap: Accommodation could be dangerous if there’s a genuine, significant and pertinent problem that requires discussion by the group.

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