People and groups in organisations often hold differing views but still need each other’s co-operation. They may differ about: –
- Goals or what should be done
- Roles or who should do what
- Procedures or how people should work together
- Relationships or how people should relate to each other
Good managers manage these conflicts when they interfere with the achievement of the organisation’s mission. They work to clarify goals, then roles, and then procedures. Most interpersonal issues disappear when the goals, roles and procedures are clear.
When in conflict, listen, summarise the other’s position and express your own thoughts and feelings clearly and directly. Use short sentences that start “I ….”. If you manage two people who are in conflict, help them listen to each other and create their own solution. This is much more likely to stick than imposing one.
Styles of conflict handling
In any conflict situation, think about the importance of the relationship and the importance of the issue to you. The style you adopt will depend on the balance between these factors.
People often prefer to use some styles more than others. However, each situation may require a different style. You can use all of them as required.
For further reading, “Caring Enough to Confront” by David Augsberger is very good.