Alliance partnerships are like marriages, the chances of conflict between your team and with the partner’s team are high. If not managed appropriately, the partnership breakup can be less than amicable. As an alliance professional, it is imperative that you know how to resolve a conflict among various groups and there are various conflict management strategies you can use.

There are five ways that can assist you in conflict management:

1. Compromising:

Compromising conflict management methodology looks for a mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies the parties involved.

When to use this methodology: 

  • It is incredibly useful when the time is a factor, and both parties need to come to a resolution fast.
  • It is an effective style when for a new alliance partnership when both parties do not know each other well.

2. Collaborating


Also known as Win-Win methodology where you work with others to create a solution that meets the needs of everyone. The goal is to spend time understanding other’s concern and give it equal weight to come up with a collaborative resolution.

When to use this methodology: 

  • This style is useful when you need to address the interests of multiple stakeholders collaboratively. There needs to be a high level of trust between all parties for collaborating to work effectively.
  • And when you want to build a long-term relationship with your new alliance partner.

3. Forcing

In a forcing conflict management style, the individual takes a firm stance on their point of view irrespective of the resistance from others.

When to use this methodology: 

  • This style works well when you have to come to a quick resolution, end the long-term conflict and get the ball rolling.
  • It is also appropriate to use when you want to stand up for your point of view regardless of resistance and pressure from others.

4. Withdrawing

In this conflict management methodology, you dodge the conflict whenever it comes up. You neither pursue yours or your opponent’s solution and withdraw from the situation.

When to use this methodology: 

  • It can be beneficial when you need more time to gather information before you can reinstate your point of view. It is also a low-stress approach, so you can focus on other matters that demand your immediate attention.
  • When the issue is trivial, and your goal is to nurture your alliance partnership for the long run. It could be in your best interest to avoid and withdraw from the conflict.

5. Smoothing

In smoothing, you put other’s concerns before yours.

When to use this methodology: 

  • It works best when you feel you might be wrong, underprepared or when the continued conflict would be detrimental to the project.

As an alliance manager, these five conflict management skills are excellent to have in your arsenal so that you can use them depending on the appropriate situation.