Conflict Management

Conflict may be defined as a competition between people with differing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. This remains into existence till people have not agreed upon a common solution. Conflicts on team are inevitable and the results are not predetermined. This may lead to nonproductive results and affect the quality. Conflicts can be a problem if it hampers productivity, lowers morale, leads to inappropriate behavior or cause more conflicts. Hence learning to manage conflict is vital to a high performance team.

But on other hand conflicts also helps in motivating people to participate in delivering there ideas. It energizes work on more appropriate issues. It helps to raise and solve the problems.

Common ways people use to respond to conflicts are:

  • Competing.

  • Avoiding generally by ignoring.

  • Cooperating.

  • Accepting or by taking suggestions.

  • Collaborating by working together.

  • Cause of conflicts at work place

    Poor Communications between management and the lower level is generally major cause of conflict. Since employees are not involved in decision making, they do not understand the reason for decision taken. They experience many surprises in the form of new decisions or rules made by management, since they are never said before. This lead to spread of rumors and employees believe more on rumor than on management.

    Second major cause of conflict is misalignment between work and resource available. Stress develops within the employee due to excess of work. There won't be a clear picture of who does what. Employees stretches themselves to complete the assigned task within the stipulated time period, but due to improper flow of information between the teams, project leads to failure. This generates more frustration within the employees. Due to inadequate resource, employees do not have proper ownership and complete command on their work. On other hand management doubt their capability and have negative image of their own employees.

    Third major cause is leadership problems. Superior's passes the buck with little follow - through to overcome the situation. Temporary solution helps them to overcome the hard time at the moment but creates major problem in future. Later on they avoid taking responsibility and pass the blame to the employees. This leads to cold war between superior and employees. The result is loss of trust and poor performance of team.

    Conflicts minimizing techniques at work place

    Some basic steps have to be taken by management to minimize conflicts in an organization to improve the performance and trust of employees.

    • Ensure that job roles of employees do not conflicts. There is no duplication of work or wrong work assigned to a wrong person.

    • Ensure that no task lack completion.

    • Build good relationships with subordinates. Meet at least once in a month and discuss on issues, challenges faced by them in completing the task.

    • Get regular written reports from sub ordinates. Report includes the current task status and help required from management for its completion. Plans for upcoming period can also be described in this report.

    • Conduct regular training programs on interpersonal communication skills, soft skills, conflict management skills, leadership skills so that sub ordinates can learn to make decisions of their own and carry out their work independently.

    • Develop procedure for routine task and include employees input. Let employees write the procedures and also allow them to review it.This helps them to keep their view point and develop the feeling of belongingness.

    • Regularly conduct management meeting to communicate new initiative and status of current programs.

    • Facilitate employees to provide suggestions in dome kind of forums.

    Managing conflicts with others
    • Generally arguments worsen the situation. Speak gently and in proper language. Be careful that discussion does not get heated up. If by any mean situation get heated up, stay calm when other person is losing temper on you.

    • Avoid blaming others for any mistakes. This won't solve the problem. Take the responsibility and get the work corrected.

    • Always keep discussions in private area, keep eye to eye contact while talking and nod head to assure that you are listening to other people. Don't interrupt them while they are speaking, listen patiently and don't try to judge them by what they are saying.

    • Try to fix the issue not the person. Ask then "What can be done to fix the problems?" There are chances they will complain again. Focus on the action that can be done to fix it. If possible, identify at least one action that can be done by one or both of you. This will increase the understanding level on both sides.

    • Always be thankful to the people working with you.

    • Even then if the conflict situation remains, conclude that other person's behavior conflicts with policies and procedures in the work place and then present the issue to your superior.

    Managing conflicts with ourselves

    Often it happens that people don't feel comfortable if they do not get proper solutions. Following steps may help in providing some solution.

    • Identify the issue or conflict that you want but not getting the solution. Write down all the thoughts that come regarding that conflict. This will help in coming to the conclusion. It is advisable to ask someone about your conflict so that you can come across some better ideas that you have never thought of.

    • Note down all the thoughts that came across in mind while you were angry, frustrated, tired or under cool conditions thinking that how important the issue is.

    • Select at least one thing that you can do about the conflict. Find out maximum numbers of courses of actions and for each course write down the pros and cons. For better conclusion you can consult others for your course of actions.

    • Finally select the action and work on it. Keep in mind that it does not hurts you or anyone else.

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