It is usual for people who collaborate or share the same workspace to have differences in opinion, interest, or to be in competition. These differences or this competitive mind can be a source of conflict. however, conflict is not always bad; sometimes it can invoke creativity and refine analysis.
If we manage conflict constructively, we harness its energy for creativity and development.Kenneth Kaya (American psychologist)
Unresolved conflicts reduce team performance and affect productivity. To get the best out of conflicts and reduce damages, it is vital to understand the root cause of the conflict and how to resolve it amicably.
Conflict resolution is a concept linked to management. It is the choice of a solution and its implementation.
What is conflict?
A conflict is a state of opposition between at least two people. There are different types of conflicts between different people and teams. These can be conflicts of ideas, conflicts of values, conflicts of interests, conflicts of people, conflicts of power, or misunderstanding.
- Conflicts of ideas: they result from differences of opinion and viewpoint.
- Conflicts of values: they relate to a choice of life or different ideologies.
- Conflicts of interests: they result from differences in the interests of each team or person.
- Conflicts of people: they arise from antipathy and competition reactions.
- Conflicts of power: they emerge from the encroachment of one of the skills of the other.
- Misunderstanding: it results from an interpretation error.
If these types of conflicts are not handled with care, they can result in different complicating outcomes based on individual behaviors unhealthy for a company or a team.
Conflict can destroy a team which hasn’t spent time learning to deal with it.Thomas Isgar
The behavior of the individuals in the conflict
In conflicts, individuals may have different behaviors that can affect the stability of the company. These behaviors include:
The individual prefers to ignore the conflict or pretend to ignore it. In this case, the conflict remains stifled, but relationships are affected, and excellent collaboration within the company is threatened.
The individual, for one reason or another, decides to deny the facts. In this case, either the individuals decide to move to other things, or the conflict remains and waits for the right moment to explode.
The individual accommodates the situation. the environment becomes unpleasant, and the individual is not fulfilled.
The individual plays the victims and arouses admiration. Such behavior on the part of one can cause frustration on the other.
The individual brings out the conflict in a non-violent manner. In this case, the conflict can quickly be resolved discreetly.
The individual becomes violent. The company finds itself faced with a battle between individuals. The conflict is less likely to be quickly eliminated.
The individual resigns to escape the situation. In this case, the company may end up losing a possibly competent employee.
Conflict resolution methods
There are several methods to resolve conflict and the choice of methods is not made by chance. It must take into account the importance of the conflict, the urgency of its resolution, and the choice of actors.
In a conflict, being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view to a viewing point – A higher, more expansive place, from which you can see both sides.Thomas Crum
- Hierarchical recourse: A hierarchical superior imposes a solution without necessarily solving the problem between individuals. A method necessary for emergencies but remains ineffective in the long term.
- Arbitration: The parties each choose an arbitrator and are involved in solving the problem. This method is useful when the conflict is not too complicated.
- Mediation: The mediator facilitates and guides the discussion. This method is valid and can allow the final resolution of the problem.
- Negotiation: This method makes it possible to reconcile opposing viewpoints. Negotiation can be confrontational when there is prejudice against one of the parties or when the interests are wholly opposed. Bargaining can be cooperative when the parties agree to a mutually satisfactory solution or when at least one of the parties decides to give up.
Skills for good conflict management
Some skills and characteristics are necessary for good conflict management.
- Neutrality and impartiality: You must not take sides or show more interest in one of the parties. Your personal feelings or judgments should not be revealed.
- Discretion: Each of the parties must feel confident because only then can they confide in all sincerity and show the real causes of the problem.
- Good personality: To successfully resolve a conflict, you have to be a model yourself. You have to inspire admiration and show confidence.
Conflict resolution steps
Here we have 7 essential steps to resolve conflict effectively.
1. Identify the cause of the conflict
First of all, it will be necessary to know the origin of the conflict. Identify the real causes of the problem to know the best method to use.
2. Identify individual expectations
Individuals must have expectations. It can be wishes, interests, hopes, and more. Not all expectations are reasonable, acceptable, or achievable. we must, therefore, identify the expectations to be considered to resolve the conflict.
3. Collect solution ideas
It is essential to let people come up with ideas for ending the conflict. If the solution comes from them, they will be more willing to comply.
4. Choose a solution and apply it
It will then be necessary to analyze each of the solutions and choose the one that suits both parties. If no solution is effective in resolving the conflict, choose one by considering the expectations of each party. This solution will be applied to resolve the conflict.
5. Give sanctions
A sanction is a penalty, coercive measure, intended to ensure compliance especially when there’s a dispute between two or more people who are proving adamant to make peace. Implement sanctions to motivate individuals to do their best to bury the conflict. It is best to decide on sanctions with them.
6. Require a handshake
A handshake between the two parties is a symbol of their commitment to bury the hatchet. It can also be a hug or an exchange of smiles to conclude the start of the truce.
7. Evaluate the results
It is essential to monitor both parties after the resolutions to ensure that the conflict does not re-emerge and to assess the effectiveness of the methods used.