Effective Methods of Conflict Management

Managing Conflict
Only in a perfect world does everyone always get along with others. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a perfect world—and certainly not in a perfect working world. Conflicts will arise. Count on it, despite best efforts to the contrary. What matters to an employer, supervisors or even peers isn't avoiding conflict at all cost but how you handle conflict when it arises.

Elements Contributing to Conflict

The first step in effectively dealing with conflict is understanding its causes. People's lives, jobs, career paths, finances, self-worth and self-confidence, ego, and sense of purpose, as well as many others factors, can give birth to conflict.

Not all work related conflict has a basis in the work environment. Arguments with children, spouse or friends can cause stress, which can lead to conflict in the workplace.

There's little you can do about personal conflicts that occasionally bleed into the work environment, except be supportive but gently insist separation of issues—endeavor to keep personal issues at home. In extreme cases, employee counseling regarding performance and communication may be required, but if you can realign the employee's behavior before it reaches that point, everyone will gain.

Recognizing Conflict

Well before harsh words, papers or equipment are flung, there are usually signs that conflict exists. Body language, verbal language and tone, degrading respect and incomplete information dissemination can indicate there's a problem.

If someone is usually verbose or articulate, but those qualities change, the person probably has an internalized conflict that isn't being discussed constructively. If a person is usually relaxed while working and is no longer so, the person is probably holding himself back from voicing his displeasure.

Conflict can be constructive: It can generate new ideas or techniques. It can improve policies and procedures, so don't discourage it. Just recognize it when it occurs, then deal with it at the lowest level possible.

Handling Conflict Constructively

Always be available for discussion. Timing and the immediate environment may not always be conducive to discussion, but welcome communication when ever it is possible. Be open to alternative suggestions and complaints, but encourage resolution when complaints are voiced.

Don't deny that conflict has arisen. You can agree to disagree about the conflicting matter, but failing to admit that it exists will only exacerbate the situation and allow it to escalate until it reaches critical mass.

If necessary, provide additional information or explanation, for oftentimes, conflict arises from incomplete understanding of the larger-picture/goal. Providing a broader picture may not resolve the conflict entirely; people may not dismiss their likes or dislikes, but that again is beyond your control. When you've done your part to the best of your ability, it's up to the individuals involved in the conflict to do the same.

Reducing Conflict Opportunities

By preparing yourself and others with tools, information and authority to complete projects or tasks, you reduce the possibility that conflicts will arise. Clear communication of goals, assignments and parameters leave little to nothing for interpretation. You don't need to micro-manage, but you do need to empower the individual to perform to his/her maximum potential.

By providing the support needed and providing it in the right forms, you reduce the possibility of conflict from arising and allow your team to concentration on accomplishing the organisation's objective.

Effective Methods of Conflict Management Effective Methods of Conflict Management Reviewed by Unknown on September 16, 2011 Rating: 5
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