What is conflict management?
“Conflict management is the process of identifying and resolving conflict. It includes dealing with potential conflicts in advance, intervening in ongoing conflicts, and responding to crises.” (Kevin Cleary)
“The ability to handle the most common types of conflict in an effective way. Effective conflict resolution depends on developing sets of skills that allow people to understand and address the true issues at stake in a conflict.” (Kevin Cleary)
Conflict management is a process by which we try to achieve consensus by resolving the conflicts within an organization . It is a negative process by which we try to resolve the conflicts and resolve the differences that may be between people.
Conflict management in an organization aims at making a group of individuals work together in harmony so as to achieve organizational goals effectively.
The process of conflict resolution
The process of conflict resolution involves understanding the root cause, developing a plan for resolution, implementing it and resolving the conflict. The process is cyclical and moves through several stages:
- Definition of the problem:
This involves determining what actually constitutes a problem. For example, if we feel that we are not getting enough work exposure in an organization, we will need to find out what others think about it and how they perceive our contribution to this aspect of the work.
- Exploration of the conflict:
During this stage, we seek to understand all sides of what is happening within the conflict. We look at underlying issues that might be causing conflict and try to see if there are ways to resolve them. For example, in our example above about feeling under-exposed, it might be important to understand what the perceptions are of our contribution within the organization. People who feel under-exposed might in fact be contributing in different ways.
- Generation of options:
Once we have a good understanding of the problem and what is causing it, we can try to generate options for resolving it. We may consider changing the way we work and reducing our work load or we may consider working on things that are more meaningful to us.
- Selection of the best option:
We then decide which is the best option within the conflict situation. For example, perhaps it has been determined that people who feel under-exposed are actually valued by their organization but have just not been given any opportunities to show this. In this case, it might be necessary to look at how the organization structures its work and identify opportunities that the person might get involved in.
- The implementation of the option:
Once we have decided on a course of action, we implement it so as to resolve the issue. This involves taking steps towards implementing our chosen option.
- Evaluation of the process:
Finally, we evaluate how effective our solution was by looking at whether it resolved the conflict and perhaps identifying new ways in which to resolve problems more effectively if they arise again.
Of course, conflict management is not always easy and there are times when things get out of hand or people get extremely angry and frustrated. In such a case, it is important to remember that conflict resolution is a process and not an event. We need to continue with the steps above in order to manage conflict well and resolve issues effectively. It can be beneficial when working on conflict resolutions to use a model such as the one above so as to ensure you have explored all aspects of the conflict situation.
Conflict management in the workplace
Some of the most effective tools for dealing with conflict in the work place include:
– Active listening.
– Clear, open communication.
When these are used, it helps to minimise or resolve conflicts effectively. It also helps to ensure that everyone is heard and respected.
Managing conflict in the workplace effectively is an art. It requires different tools and strategies depending on the type of conflict it is, how intense or severe it is, who are involved, etc.
Managing conflict can be difficult, but with effort and appropriate techniques, even the toughest challenges can be well managed and resolved to everyone’s benefit.
The saying ‘Knowledge is power’ holds true in conflict management too. When conflicts arise, we all want it dealt with quickly and effectively so that we can move on and get things done without distractions or unpleasantness.
The more we know about the different types of conflict and how they might affect us, the better we can prepare ourselves and deal with them effectively.
The art of conflict management is an important one, especially in the work place where conflicts are often left unaddressed and end up causing unnecessary disruptions and interpersonal issues. Learning how to manage conflicts well helps to minimise or even eliminate any negative consequences that might result from them.
Conflict management strategies in the workplace
Conflict management strategies are typically used to address conflict that arises between two or more people. Generally, the goal is to minimize the negative effects of conflict on individuals and organizations. Strategies may include:
- Avoiding the situation that causes conflict.
- Dealing with interpersonal conflicts through negotiation and mediation.
- Handling conflicts through creative problem solving.
Best practices for constructive conflict management
The best way to deal with conflict is to focus on the problem, rather than who caused it. The more you focus on the problem, the less likely you will be to engage in destructive behaviors or feel that you are being attacked. You will also be able to better identify the problem and its solution.
When it comes to conflict, people often make the mistake of focusing on who caused it or how to fix it. If you are focused on the problem, rather than who caused it, you will be able to identify what is broken and what needs to be fixed.