Conflict resolution, how to handle unpleasant situations at workplace
Conflict at the workplace is damaging, traumatic and counter productive for all the individuals caught up in it. It becomes the responsibility of the leadership to resolve the conflicts as fast as they can. There are several ways to resolve the conflicts to handle unpleasant situations at the workplace.
As the organisations are now restructuring the work teams, there is a growing need to train people in conflict resolution. As more and more organisations are experiencing stress at workplace ultimately resulting in conflicts, more and more managers are concentrating towards conflict resolution. As a result, it has become a complete field of study.
Introduction to conflict resolution – How does it work?
Conflict resolution, also known as “Conflictology” is an attempt to resolve a conflict (In this case, at a work place). At a work place, where deadlines always heat up the atmosphere, rising conflicts is not a strange issue. They may arise out of the blue from any debate or differences. When the employees have to work together as a team, they have to work in great coordination with each other. A little lack of cooperation or careless attitude can unexpectedly give rise to conflicts.
Conflict can be differences in terms of class, rank, power, and behavioural attitudes. The role of conflict resolution is to help in avoiding the negative circumstances that may be caused as a result of disputes, controversies, and other methods used to resolve conflict. With conflict resolution, the conflicts can be dealt with quickly and overtly.
How to handle unpleasant situation at work place
The job of conflict resolution is to end the conflicts prior to they occurance or cause any verbal, physical, or legal dispute. Conflict resolution can be successful by giving people a platform to speak and listening to them, offering them equal opportunities to work to meet each other’s needs. The team leader or the manager has to properly deal with their interests so that they remain satisfied with the result.
There are different ways to deal with the conflict at work place:
• Direct Approach
Direct approach is the best approach among all others, which focuses on the leader, who deals with the issue directly. However, conflicts are not so easy or comfortable to deal with; it brings up a time which is the best to introspect at the issues impartially. One has to face the conflicts as they are. If you need to criticise to emphasize your point, you have to make it positive in tone for the recipients.
The direct approach depends more on the skills of solving problems. It usually brings a sense of motion, as the conflict has been brought to the surface and has to be dealt with and controlled.
The most effective conflict resolution takes place directly between the parties who have opposing views. This stage is known as negotiation, which is the conventional way of bargaining tough where the interests of a group far overshadow the concerned working relationships.
A third party makes use of the most efficient way of bargaining where both the parties have certain ideas about a solution but they cannot find a common position, acceptable for both sides. In this situation, the role of a project manager or a team leader is required. They, due to the positions they have, can help in finding out the best compromise.
For finding the middle ground to resolve the conflict, there has to be a give and take on both the sides. However, most of the times, it generally concludes with both the parties remaining dissatisfied. To find the middle ground in the spur of the conflict is not easy. For a fair judgment, a negotiator has to look at the both interests and working relationships as important.
• Enforcing Team Rules
Enforcing team rules for conflict resolution does not have a good success rate and is mostly considered best avoided, if possible. There is a possibility for this method to bring out hard feelings towards not only the leader but the whole team. However, it helps in observing strict discipline at once. This method should be employed at the time when you know it for sure that a member does not want to remain in the team. The best way of resolving the conflict here is to help the person to find out another team.
• Leave untouched
A negotiator can leave the conflict untouched in the situation when the conflict is actually not so real to start with. You need to simply avoid it or work around it, by not directly interfering in the conflict. This helps in delaying things long enough for the person to pacify. This method of conflict resolution is a tricky one and needs high level of judgment from the leadership whether the situation is fit enough to leave untouched or not.
If used by an experienced leader at the right time and environment, the technique of not interfering in the conflict can be the best way to avoid minor incidents, which usually arise due to occasional bad mood and get blown up to be real problems that should not have happened otherwise.
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Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.