It’s hard not to get competitive when we get into conflict situations and negotiation settings.

We want to win. We often keep score. Sometimes the negotiation ends abruptly, and sometimes it goes on and on and on. What should be our strategy? It depends.

There are six strategies to conflict resolution – Win/Win – Win/Lose – Lose/Win – Lose/Lose – Win – Win/Win or No Deal.


Win/Win is based on the strategy that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense of the success of others. We take the time to seek out the most mutually satisfying outcome.


Win/Lose is the authoritarian way. I win and you lose. “I get my way; you don’t get yours.” Win/Lose people use their position, power, and personality to win.


Lose/Win is a strategy, where a person believes, if I give up and support you this time, you will support me next time. People who think Lose/Win are usually quick to please and often seek popularity or acceptance. They may fail to express their opinions and may be intimidated by the assertive or aggressive style of others.


Lose/Lose happens when people become frustrated and create an atmosphere for mutual destruction. Lose/Lose can occur when stubborn people become vindictive and want to inflict pain or try to get even in some way. Both lose. Win is probably the most common approach in everyday negotiation. People with the Win mentality don’t necessarily want someone else to lose. What matters is that they get what they want – they get the deal, they get an agreement, they get their goal. There is no real sense of contest or competition.

They believe the other side protected their interests accordingly, otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to the terms.

Win/Win or No Deal

Win/Win or No Deal basically means that we just didn’t have enough to work with to make it happen. We couldn’t find a solution that would benefit us both, so we agree to disagree, agreeable, with no deal. Which is fine.

We have options, and four out of six of these options includes us winning: Win/Win, Win/Lose, Win, Win/Win or No Deal. I prefer the Win/Win approach which seeks mutual benefit. A Win/Win solution creates an outcome where all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action required. Don’t forget that Win/Win is still a win for you, too.

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