Unfortunately, conflicts at work are inevitable! No matter how hard you try to avoid them, they are bound to happen at one point or another. Of course, I’ve just stated a fact here. The important part is actually what happens once the conflict has broken out of the bottle, just like a genie! There are not too many ways it can turn out to be. It will only be resolved when you decide to resolve it! And you know what? It is always better to resolve them sooner than later as unresolved conflicts at work can have negative results on your work and psychology. A few of them being, you being angry, bringing inefficient collaboration thus inexistent teamwork, cause an environmental imbalance in the working space, all of which will result in low productivity within the organization. No one wants any of the above!
The very first thing you must do when a conflict erupts, is to actually first have a self-evaluation of how you played a role in the situation. Ask yourself, why is that person/ idea impacting you so much? Never forget that you need to stay calm in order not to lose control and have a clearer view of the situation. Remember that after all, whether you are employee involved in it or the director, you have to deal with it! The challenge, in any situation, is how you choose to handle it. Will you try to win, or you recede? Are you going to avoid it? Or maybe find a win -win solution? Would you be able to compromise?
Let’s have a closer look at these conflict resolution behaviors:
If you are directly involved in the conflict, such behavior means that you will stand up for your belief, your position until the end. You will not care about the other party’s understanding of the matter and all you will want is to win.
This is a very understandable kind of through and attitude. Who doesn’t want to defend their beliefs and understandings? However, it is one that doesn’t work in a collaborative environment where many beliefs and understandings need to be taken into consideration! Such a style leaves behind “dead bodies” and destroys the very important collaborative relationships needed in an organization.
Now, if you’re the director, having to deal with such situation between employees, I think it’s time you had a serious talk with the party (ies) employing such type of behavior. Things to be put in place as well as into perspective. No one can act this way in a company and not be, at least, warned of the consequences. Let’s face it, this is not a playground!
This behavior is the opposite of competing. Although some may think that this is the best way to resolve a conflict, it really isn’t. There is no way that only one person is right about something. You know what they say “two heads are always better than one”! When you see that your needs don’t meet the other person’s needs and you sacrifice and all you want is to satisfy the other party you diminish your influence.
A note for the directors: if you come across such behavior in your employees, don’t encourage it. It is better to have a sit down with all interested parties and make them understand that it is better to take a bit of each one’s views and combine them. And of course, if you’re involved in it, the accommodation behavior is a big NO! Listen, assess and decide! You are the director and you have better knowledge of the company!
Oh, the passive and uncooperative behavior. To be honest, for most people, this is the first thing that comes to mind “It’ll blow over!” This is the case where you postpone dealing with the conflict hoping it will go away on its own. Unfortunately, this is a wishful thought which will never happen! The more you push the problem aside, it will only get bigger.
In cases of directors and company owners, paying attention to such conflicts is key to make the team understand that you are on top of things and that you are watching. You could be self-proclaimed “Big Brother”. Not too bad as a title ey?
Teamwork is essential to anyone in the work environment, where they are employees or owners. You, of course, prefer to solve any occurring problem instead of avoiding it and your goal is to find a win- win solution in order to satisfy everyone involved. This is the case, which ever your position in the company is. A win-win is optimal for everyone and makes things easier to be resolved. It will take time and effort to find the best solution for everyone but it will be worth it in the end.
Collaboration is the “A” of teamwork which ultimately leads to the creation of an A-team! And everyone wants that. Also, if you are a company owner, the cultivation of the collaborative way of thinking is something that starts from the very beginning of hiring an individual. Therefore, if you pay enough attention to properly training your next in command then they will be able to cultivate that way of thinking to their next in command and so on and so forth! The result will be optimal as in cases of conflict your employees will be more prone to thinking collaboratively
This is the quick fix of things as you basically try to find a middle ground to satisfy both parties. It must be noted that finding a solution and keeping relationships are equally important. As it is also important, in cases of directors and owners, to show that you are treating everyone equally, which is a message easily sent through the “meet in the middle” conflict resolution.
Although there are several types of conflict resolution methods, there is no one right way to do it. Each conflict is different just as much as each person is different and these facts alone will call for the employment of a different type of method every time Therefore, you always need to choose the method wisely, having considered all components of a conflict. Never forget that conflict could be a learning opportunity for everyone involved.
Just as David Augsburger very well said: “The more we run from conflict, the more it masters us; the more we try to avoid it, the more it controls us; the less we fear conflict, the less it confuses us; the less we deny our differences, the less they divide us.”
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