Conflicts are inevitable when a number of people will be working together. Conflict is defined as a “difference in opinion or some kind of disagreement between two or more parties”. Conflicts need to be resolved effectively. It is not only important to resolve the conflict, but also is equally important to ensure that the parties involved in conflict do not unnecessarily end up being in any kind of emotional stress during the resolution process of the conflict. Striking a balance between resolving the conflict to find the decision and maintaining the emotional well-being of the people involved will be critical to successful conflict management.
Hence it is important to understand clearly, what is a conflict, why conflict occurs, the challenges in resolving conflicts, and various methods for resolving conflicts.
There are two views on conflicts or the so-called differences in opinion between people. The traditional view says “conflicts are bad and should be totally discouraged”, and the new modern view says” conflicts can be constructive and good and different ways of thinking should be encouraged to get multiple ideas and solutions to problems in hand”.
Let us approach conflict management with the idea that conflicts can be good for the team. So for effective conflict management, there is a need for creating a right atmosphere that empowers people to think originally and encourages them to put forth their suggestions and opinions without fear. And the members are encouraged to resolve conflicts among themselves with a very open and collaborative mind. People need to rise above their personal emotions while resolving conflicts and they need to think about the final goals of the project or work at hand. A manager should intervene in resolving a conflict when the involved team members will not be able to resolve it on their own. A hands-on PMP training followed by the certification helps managers resolve conflicts with greater conviction.
Some of the sources of conflict include disagreements on schedules, cost, priorities, technical opinions, resources, administrative procedures, and personality. Personality-related conflicts should completely be discouraged.
In this method, people involved in the conflict or having a difference in opinion, come forward to discuss the problem at hand with a very open mind. They focus on resolving the conflict and finding the best alternative/solution for the team. They discuss rising above personal emotions with the sole intention to finding what is best for the team. This leads to a win-win kind of outcome. Here everyone collaborates.
Sometimes for certain conflicts, there will be a need for the involved parties to think of a middle path wherein both parties decide to give up something and identify a resolution. This kind of solution will be temporary for that moment and are not a long-lasting solution. This leads to a lose-lose kind of outcome as both parties may feel they have lost something.
In some situations, one of the parties in the conflict may decide to retract from the discussion and allows going with the other person’s opinion. Or some situations, one of the parties may decide to completely avoid the conflict by maintaining silence. This works well in situations where one of the parties in the conflict is emotionally charged up or is angry. Hence avoiding any conflict resolution provides a “cooling off” period for the people involved so that they can later come back for meaningful resolution.
In some situations, a person with authority and power can force his/her opinion and resolves the conflict without giving any chance to the other party/person. This leads to a win-lose kind of outcome. Someone may end up feeling like a loser while the other person with authority may feel as a winner. This technique can be used if we see that conflicts are unnecessary and destructive for the team.
This is a technique that is used when the atmosphere seems to be filled with apprehension/distrust among the parties involved. And no one is coming forward for resolving the conflict. In these kinds of scenarios, one of the parties can take charge and tries to smooth the surrounding by using nice words and by emphasizing the points of agreement, and playing down the points of disagreement. This can work as a catalyst to break the discomfort between the involved parties by creating a feeling of trust and encouraging them to come forward and resolve the conflict.
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