Conflict occurs when two or more people do not agree on an Issue or course of action. Conflict is unavoidable in the workplace and is often valuable in contributing to the formation of high- performing groups. Not all conflict is bad. When conflicts are properly managed, positive learning experiences may result as it increases the groups’ willingness or ability to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Conflict management seeks to limit the negative aspects and Increase the positive aspects of conflict by implementing certain strategies. It aims to enhance learning and group outcomes.
Managers play a crucial role in identifying and managing workplace disputes at an early stage. To this end, managers can be both the solution to, and the cause of workplace disagreements. Management style of managers could contribute to stress within their team or department. The key thing to remember is that the conflict itself is not the problem, but poor management of conflict may result in even bigger problems down the line. How to Manage Conflict for High Performance Before we can manage conflict, we must manage ourselves. In the face of conflict, our trial reaction Is either fight, flight or freeze.
We can overcome this fear by mastering our emotions and our focus. Human beings exist In one of many ;states’. A state is a combination of feelings, thoughts, physiology, and behavior, and it largely determines how we act. We can change a ‘state’ from negative to positive, from fear to courage, and do what Is counterintuitive: go towards the person with whom we are In conflict A key tactic for doing this Is to manage our focus In the mind’s eye, one of the brain’s most powerful mechanisms. It forms the way we view a particular situation ND determines how we will act or react.
Most of us have heard about how successful athletes improve performance by visualizing winning and never losing sight of their goal. Another example Is the way some executives Improve their public speaking skills by imagining themselves captivating their audience. All high performers use their mind’s eye to focus on the benefits beyond the fear, the danger or potential pain. The mind’s eye is a fundamental tool to create a positive or negative result In managing conflict. Our mind’s eye Is shaped by experiences and choice, which determine the way we view the world and, ultimately, determine success or failure in dealing with conflict.
Many leaders in conflict situations are ‘hostages’ to their inner fears and other negative emotions and fail to see the opportunities in resolving them. Six essential skills for managing conflict effectively 1 . Create and maintain a bond, even with your ;adversary 1 OFF do not have to like someone to form a bond with him or her. We only need a common goal. Treat the person as a friend, not an enemy, and base the relationship on mutual respect, positive regard and co-operation. Leaders must learn to separate the person room the problem, genuinely want to help the other party and avoid negative responses to attacks or intense emotions. . Establish a dialogue and negotiate At all times it’s important to keep the conversation relevant, stay focused on a positive outcome and remain aware of the common goal. It is imperative to avoid being hostile or aggressive. The next stage is negotiation, in which we add bargaining to the dialogue. Talking, dialogue and negotiation create genuine, engaging and productive two-way transactions. We need to use energy from the body, emotions, intellect and the spirit. 3. “Put the fish on the table” This expression means, simply, raising a difficult issue without being aggressive or hostile.
The analogy comes from Sicily where the fishermen, who are strongly bonded, put their bloody catch on a large table to clean it together. They work through the messy Job and are rewarded by a great fish dinner at the end of the day. If you leave a fish under the table it starts to rot and smell. On the other hand, once an issue is raised, we can work through the mess of sorting it out and find a mutually beneficial outcome. The important thing to remember is that we should not slap the other party in the face with the fish!
We should be direct, engaging and respectful, always helping the other person to ‘save face’. In addition, timing is important. It would not be beneficial to raise a difficult topic Just as a senior colleague is leaving to the airport. We can decide not to put the fish on the table as a tactic, but not because we wish to avoid the conflict. Choosing the right time and the right circumstances are part of an effective conflict management strategy. 4. Understand what causes conflict To be able to create a dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict, we need to understand the root of the disagreement.
Among the common causes of disagreement are differences over goals, interests or values. There could be different perceptions of the problem, such as ‘It’s a quality control problem’ or ‘it’s a production problem’, and there may also be different communication styles. Power, status, rivalry, insecurity, resistance to change and confusion about roles can also create conflicts. Egotistical people, for example, leaders who manipulate others to build their own identities and self-importance often generate conflicts. It is crucial to determine whether a conflict relates to interests or needs.
Interests are more rainstorm and superficial, such as land, money, or a Job; needs are more basic and not for bargaining, Such as identity, security and respect. Many conflicts appear to losses have to do with needs, and those needs may connect to the deeper wounds people have suffered in their life. Someone passed over for promotion, for example, may seem to be upset about the loss of extra money, when the real pain is caused by a loss of respect or loss of identity. 5. Use the law of reciprocity The law of reciprocity is the foundation of cooperation and collaboration. What you give out is likely to be what you get back.
Humans have a deeply hardwired pattern of reciprocity. Researchers have recently discovered mirror neurons in the brain, suggesting that our limbic system (emotional brain) that establishes empathy, recreates the experience of others’ intentions and feelings within ourselves. Mutual exchange and internal adaptation allows two individuals to become attuned and empathetic to each other’s inner states. Hence a powerful technique to master in any kind of dispute is to empathic with the feelings and views of the other individual by managing what we express – both verbally and non-verbally.
This social awareness allows you to make the right concessions at the right time. Once you have made a concession, it is likely that the other party will respond in kind. Moreover, when you recognize a concession has been made, reciprocate with one of your own. 6. Build a positive relationship Once a bond has been established, we must nurture the relationship as well as pursue our goals. We need to balance reason and emotion, because emotions such as fear, anger, frustration and even love may disrupt otherwise thoughtful actions.
We need to understand each other’s point of view, regardless of whether we agree tit it or not. The more effectively we communicate our differences and our areas of agreement, the better we will understand each other’s concerns and improve our chances of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The deepest bond are founded on what the eminent psychologist Carl Rogers called ‘unconditional positive regard’. We can all learn to communicate acceptance of the other person while saying no or disagreeing with a specific point or behavior. Feeling accepted, worthy and valued are basic psychological needs.