Weekly Focus

Managing Conflict in the workplace

What needs to happen? Listen here

In any organisation or team, it is critical that everyone works as one, sharing a common goal and with values and vision aligned…One team with a collective mindset. Sadly this is not always the case.

Conflict happens when individuals or groups do not share a common goal and when their personal needs, satisfaction or self-interest are not met. Some people can work through this but for many conflict will arise.

There can be four main reasons for this conflict…
·         Poor Communication and Leadership
·         Power Struggles
·         Disagreement
·         Organisational demands

Leaders need to be pro-active in the first instance by defining expectations and role clarity. A clear chain of command needs to exist. It’s human nature that some conflict will from time to time occur…We all have emotions! What is important is to recognise decisions that could lead to conflict and then to react quickly. Nip it in the bud…Don’t let small issues grow and develop.

Getting to the source of the conflict is vital. Beware of scratching the surface. Get to the root cause. Is this something that needs a review of certain processes (a learning opportunity), or a simple disagreement or misunderstanding which can be solved through fast intervention?

No different to negotiation, understand what the cause of any conflict is, work out what people need and where necessary recognise what ground may need to be given up…Be prepared and understand peoples individual needs.

Listening skills are critical and also recognising that in conflict resolution, “assertiveness” is a great behaviour. Assertiveness is a behaviour that means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passively accepting the wrong behaviours. Assertive individuals are able to get their point across without upsetting others or becoming upset.

Recognise that conflict can on occasions be positive. It can highlight underlying issues and help to restore trust and unity…But be alert to potential issues and make sure that they don’t happen!

“Dialogue is the most effective way of resolving conflict”

Tenzin Gyatso