Conflict is normal, unavoidable, even healthy. When colleagues collaborate, they’ll disagree. Key is resolving disagreements. Ok, how do the Americans deal with conflict?
In the American context conflicts of interest are a fact of life. Escalation is not only often necessary, the individual has a fundamental right to seek resolution, to „have his day in court.“ A third party – almost without exception the next management level – is called upon to judge. In fact, effective leadership is defined, among other things, by its ability to resolve conflict.
Americans expect a fair hearing. The process of justice begins when the conflict parties, in the presence of each other, make their case before the judge. In the American culture self-defense is only possible when one knows what the other side is accusing them of. A hearing almost always takes place.
An American manager asked to resolve a conflicts sees himself more as judge than mediator. Both facts and witness testimony will be considered in her deliberations. Both are legitimate forms of evidence.
Americans become impatient if too much time is required to resolve a conflict. Festering conflicts are disruptive for any team. A suboptimal, but prompt resolution, is often better than an optimal, but late one.
Americans escalate disputes. They expect an authority-driven resolution process. A true and lasting resolution is attainable only when a clear decision is made. Americans have less of a problem with one party winning and the other losing. „You win some, you lose some.“ Just move on.