Conflicts are a common part of human relationships and they occur in a wide variety of areas including family life, social life, and at work. Conflict management is a system that is in place at work to resolve disputes whether it is between team members or possibly with a client due to a missed deadline or inadequate results, according to the Harvard Law School blog. The area of management conflicts needs multiple tools and strategies to truly resolve problems between individuals at work.
What is Conflict Management?
Conflict management relates to either a formal or an informal methodology for two or more individuals to determine a calm way to resolve a dispute. Conflicts can be caused between workers, departments, companies, different neighborhoods, and even countries, states a research study published by Patricia Elgoibar, Martin Euwema, and Lourdes Munduate.
Everyday activities and life events can lead to conflicts, which means both entry-level workers and supervisors need to implement appropriate strategies for the management conflicts arena. Essentially, conflict itself can be defined as the difference of interests or a difference of opinion as well as incompatible actions.
Conflict management involves compromising, integrating ideas, or solving problems to resolve issues between two or more people or groups. Compromising involves finding a middle ground that can accommodate two people’s ideas or needs. Problem solving, however, revolves around making sure both parties win by implementing more creative ideas that meet both parties’ needs and interests.
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Recognizing Disagreements in the Management Conflicts Area
According to the Harvard Business Review, there are two type of ways individuals address conflict, which includes seeking it out or avoiding it. Avoiders tend to refuse making anyone uncomfortable or hurting team dynamics. Seekers, on the other hand, look to address disagreements and believe in directness and honesty.
In order to diagnose and recognize conflicts in the workplace, you will need to think about each employee’s style and whether individuals are more direct or tend to skirt around major issues to avoid hurt feelings. Figure out how to manage a particular problem where one person may be a seeker of conflict while another is an avoider.
You will need to figure out how an employee works in the midst of a stressful situation such as a tight deadline or a difference of opinion regarding a product idea. Be sure to assess how every worker behaves in social and professional settings including their communication styles.
Figure out if someone comes right out and tells you what they think, or if someone tends to avoid difficult topics. When attempting recognize people’s styles with disagreements, seek out any patterns such as the look on their faces when someone disagrees with their ideas or whether they want the most basic facts or a very detailed description of a project. Find patterns in their communication styles in order to better perform management conflicts.
In addition, you may want to get input from other colleagues such as other supervisors to see if they can better pinpoint a worker’s personality. Figure out if others confirm your observations about a worker, as long as you put complete trust in your colleagues. In addition, you can directly ask your workers how they react to conflict. Figure out whether they are avoiders or seekers of conflict by directly talking to your employees.
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Typical Conflicts and Exacerbations of Disagreements
The Harvard Law School blog post discusses multiple cognitive, unconscious methods that can actually exacerbate conflicts in the workplace. For example, self-serving fairness interpretations revolve around disagreements where an individual attempts to interpret what is fair to themselves in a way where they obtain the biggest benefit.
In addition, overconfidence can also lead to greater disagreements when one person has unrealistic expectations. For example, if an overconfident employee believes he or she deserves to get a much bigger raise than a boss can provide, it can lead to a significant conflict.
Along with these typical disagreements, conflict avoidance can also lead to problems that exacerbate a situation. Since uncomfortable situations can cause people to feel stressed, many workers go out of their way to avoid conflict and hope their feelings will go away over time. However, this can actually cause your beliefs or feelings to grow stronger as the weeks or months go by. As such, it becomes more imperative to resolve conflict when strong emotions develop.
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Strategies for Managing Conflicts in the Workplace
If you find out that you and the person you are having a potential conflict with are both avoiders, you will need to make sure that one of you takes the lead and is more direct with the other individual.
Let your coworker know that you do not like conflict either, but resolving a problem is more important than ignoring it altogether. Attempt to be sensitive and thoughtful when addressing another person who is a conflict avoider. Try to move forward with resolving an issue even if things become difficult.
If both coworkers are seekers of conflict, it is important to take more time to prepare for a conversation in such a case. Schedule a discussion that includes breaks because both parties tend to be impatient individuals. If things are getting more heated during your conversation, suggest taking a coffee break or a walk to cool down.
If you are a seeker and your coworker is an avoider, you should ask the person to participate in the discussion in a more active and present way. Ask for their opinions regarding a topic. Try to be more patient if the conversation is not moving in the right direction. Avoid bullying the other individual into going along with your ideas or interests.
If you are an avoider of conflict and the other party is a seeker, you will need to attempt to ask for what you need in a particular situation. Ask the other party to be patient and to watch his or her tone or the volume of his or her voice. Attempt to be more direct with the other party. Honesty and getting to the point will help you in this conversation. This will earn more respect from the type of person who seeks conflict.
In order to be a more effective leader, it is vital for you to have good experience in the management conflicts arena. Ineffective management techniques for resolving conflicts and disputes can lead to broken relationships as well as low productivity and morale.
Another important tip for boosting conflict resolution is to understand the potential benefits of this process including the ability to grow, develop, and learn, according to an article from Forbes. You can come up with new and innovative solutions for a particular dispute you may be having with a colleague.
It is also vital as the manger to create an environment where workers feel comfortable and encouraged to give and receive feedback. When addressing your team, ask for extensive feedback on a project or an idea. Being more transparent will help your team be more honest with each other. Make sure to create a dialogue of feedback where opinions are valued.
In addition, it is beneficial for you as the manager to be proactive with regard to conflict resolution. You can prevent subpar behavior from escalating by taking action more quickly. However, you should not jump to conclusions when it comes to the management conflicts area. You will want to get the whole picture of a situation before being proactive in resolving the issue.
In addition, instead of an abrupt and uncomfortable conversation, attempt to start the discussion through storytelling, the Forbes article advises. You can better engage your coworkers through storytelling. This can help make your case and then you can let the other party process your thoughts. During their rebuttal, be sure to listen and understand their ideas.
Avoid using email when attempting to resolve conflict. Giving your undivided attention to a situation and talking to people face-to-face is a much better way to overcome disputes rather than hiding behind an email address.
How Technology should be Used in Conflict Resolution
In terms of communicating and addressing conflict management, you can utilize technology such as time management software and project tools instead of merely sending out an email message. However, what you should do is check the time and schedule of your coworker and send them a message based on that schedule to set up a meeting.
Time management software can help you determine someone’s schedule and whether they have too many projects to complete on a particular day. If they have multiple deadlines coming up, you will want to schedule your meeting on the days following the deadlines. Having a face-to-face meeting can be much more helpful in resolving conflict. Finding the right schedule means neither of you will be in a rush or impatient during your talk.
Runrun.it software is an innovative time management program where workers can have the hours they work automatically tracked and the deadlines of each project are clear for all team members working on the same business plan. Runrun.it software also includes a customized dashboard where users can view comments and feedback from their colleagues as well as review metrics and the results behind their projects. If you want to see if Runrun.it software tools are right for you, click here for a free trial.