What is conflict management?
Conflict management is the practice of being able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly and efficiently no matter the environment; work, home or school. Conflicts in a business is a natural part of the workplace environment and it is important that there are people who can recognize conflicts and be able to resolve them immediately. This is important in today’s market more than ever. The goal should be that everyone strives to show how valuable they are to the company they work for and at times, this can lead to disputes with other members of the team.
Conflict Management Styles
As long as we have people and they have to co-habitat there will be conflict. Why? Because we all have different personalities and ways of accomplishing the sames goals. Employee’s success is based on how he/she responds and resolves conflict.
Here are five conflict styles that a manager will follow according to Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann:
- An accommodating manager is one who cooperates to a high degree. This may be at the manager’s own expense and actually work against that manager’s own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. This approach is effective when the other person is the expert or has a better solution.
- Avoiding an issue is one way a manager might attempt to resolve conflict. This type of conflict style does not help the other staff members reach their goals and does not help the manager who is avoiding the issue and cannot assertively pursue his or her own goals. However, this works well when the issue is trivial or when the manager has no chance of winning.
- Collaborating managers become partners or pair up with each other to achieve both of their goals in this style. This is how managers break free of the win-lose paradigm and seek the win-win. This can be effective for complex scenarios where managers need to find a novel solution.
- Competing: This is the win-lose approach. A manager is acting in a very assertive way to achieve his or her own goals without seeking to cooperate with other employees, and it may be at the expense of those other employees. This approach may be appropriate for emergencies when time is of the essence.
- Compromising: This is the lose-lose scenario where neither person or manager really achieves what they want. This requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation. It may be appropriate for scenarios where you need a temporary solution or where both sides have equally important goals.
Tips on Handling Conflict at Work:
- Approach conflict with an open mind
- Consider what might have caused the conflict
- Be respectful of differences
- Try to cut the conflict off in its early stages
- Listen Carefully
- Be mindful of your language both spoken and body
- Ask for help: sometimes having a mediator is important
- Be sure problem is resolved.