Conflict Management

Conflict ManagementConflict may be defined as the struggle or difference or contest in the ideas between 2 different people or group or team with different understanding, belief, need, thoughts and goals. Conflicts are raised due to the change in the process, method, technique etc. Changes are normally not easily acceptable and in most of the times results into conflicts and in turn conflicts might escalate and results into non-productive results. Hence it is believed that managing or resolving these conflicts becomes the integral part for any high-performance team or group. The fact that conflict exists should not always be denied and it should be accepted that conflicts are good; if resolved effectively can results into personal and professional growth and development. Conflicts help us in becoming better communicators and improve relationships which in turn increase the business.

Managing these conflicts is the utmost important task for the organizations as it may result in getting benefits which were not expected earlier. If organizations can learn to manage this high probable event called conflict; the understanding of the team can be increased, people can increase self-knowledge and mutual respect can be developed remarkably.

As it can be agreed upon that conflicts can act as catalyst in the path of growth, they should be treated positively to avoid unwanted aggressions. Every person has its own way to deal with conflicts but I believe the methods or probable ways followed to resolve conflicts should be conscious and continuous efforts should be made to improve the conflict management styles or techniques.

Conflicts can be dealt in many ways but the most acceptable approach throughout the globe is Thomas and Kilmann’s technique developed by   Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in 1970. This technique helps in identifying the styles towards which one tends at the time conflict arises:

Conflict Management Styles

Competing conflict mode is high assertiveness and low co-operative. This style helps in taking quick decisions and when one is protecting self-interests. This style is more debatable and influenced by the rank, power, expertise or persuasive ability of the individuals.  However this style can leave individuals feeling unsatisfied when used ineffectively and in less urgent issues.

Avoiding conflict mode is low assertive and low co-operative. This style is normally opted by those people who don’t want to indulge in the conflicts may be because of less confidence in the conflict management skills or the issue is of low importance. Avoiding mode is also used at the times when you are in the position of lower power and you want to buy some time to reduce tensions around. This mode demands sense of timing and ability to withdraw things unresolved. However this mode is often considered as weak and ineffective.

Accommodating conflict mode is low assertive and high co-operative. This mode is preferred by people who believe more in peace than in winning. At times when maintaining good will and being reasonable is more important, accommodating style is appropriate. However most of the times it doesn’t beget good and favorable results.

Collaborating conflict mode is high assertive and high co-operative. This style develops when people propose idea on top of an idea. This style is more creative and can’t be handled by an individual. Hence it is advised at times when a group or team has to deal with any conflict should opt for collaboration style. This style is opted when delivering solution is highly important even for simple trade-offs.

Last but not the least is compromising conflict mode. This mode is moderate assertive and moderate co-operative. This style suits best for the people at same level of power and skills and those who are committed to provide resolution in short time.

manage the conflictsConflicts require high energy level for resolution. One should understand that dealing with conflicts is not time consuming but it consumes energy and hence to deal with any situation or conflict high level of energy is required. No matter what style has been opted but the energy should be maintained throughout to manage the conflicts. Managing conflicts is about maintaining the relations. If a person is important to you, you have to have go for conflict resolution in order to deliver better results in future.

We all grow up with some habits, some inherited while some developed with our growth. These habits in most of the cases act as the negative catalyst in dealing with conflicts. E.g. a person who has grown up with selflessness can’t deal with the person with high assertiveness. Hence it is always important to sit back and think about those limiting habits and deal with them accordingly.

What end result is required? This question is very important in case of managing conflicts. If the expected outcome is not clear, the actual results will most of the time result in conflicts. It is always advised to listen before talking. It’s necessary to understand the situation of other person before explaining yours. One should understand the possible consequences before engaging in conflicts. It is not advised to drag the conflicts which can result in severe results.

But there are many cases when engaging in conflicts become more important and instead of thinking of sense of self, one must engage in managing the conflicts to mitigate the differences. The Foundation coalition team says, “When the personal consequences of turning away from the conflict outweigh all other factors, then a person usually must take part in the conflict.”

 Based on the above described styles and techniques to handle the conflicts, the conflict resolution can be defined as a 5 step process starting from identifying the conflict to the solution negotiated for the same.

manage your conflictsStep1: Identify the conflict

Step2: discuss the details around the conflict identified.

Step3: agree to the root problem which has resulted in conflict.

Step4: check for the every possible solution for the conflict.

Step5: Finally negotiate the solution to avoid the future conflicts.

At last it is always advised to be calm and patient while dealing with conflicts. Maintain the energy throughout the discussion keeping in mind the end result and  you can win any conflicts.

Happy Reading!!

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