Webster defines conflict as discord, disharmony, friction, antagonism, rivalry, disagreement, dissonance, disunity. No company, team, or relationship can be successful if a conflict situation exists and is not addressed.
Conflict in the Workplace
Most of us have learned from experience that conflict in the workplace too often leads to unproductive consequences–anxiety, anger, intimidation, blame, resentment, morale problems and decreased productivity. No company can afford any of these. Conflict must be resolved. Confronting it and dealing with it is the intelligent and mature way to bring problems and issues to light and strengthen management/employee and team relationships.
Respect is the Key Issue
The issue in all conflict is rarely about things, and most often about respect. It can occur when an individual feels any of the following:
“My right to decide is being weakened.” “I feel taken for granted.”
“My right to control is being jeopardized.”"My ideas are constantly shot down.”"My judgment and my ideas are not being considered.” “My prestige and my status are being questioned.”"My feelings don’t count here.”"I feel unfairly treated, defeated, powerless, inferior.”"I feel under-appreciated.” “I know I’m right and they won’t listen to me.” “I see daggers coming from her eyes and she thinks I don’t notice.” “He is trying to manipulate me.” “He doesn’t do his job, and holds everyone back, yet the boss doesn’t see it.”
It Can Occur When There is-
Too much competition – Negativity – Territorialism – A Personality Clash – Constant Micromanaging – Too much red tape – Rapid change – Favoritism – Disagreement on major decisions – Lack of respect – “My Way or the Highway” – A boss who does not know what is going on on their own company.
What Happens if We Ignore Conflict
Not being aware of a conflict situation or being willing to tackle and resolve it can lead to unresolved feelings of anger and victimization, decreased productivity, unresolved problems, and even power plays. Not being willing to face and resolve it also means that it won’t go away.
10 Steps for Conflict Resolution
1. Be open to the concept of resolving it.
2. Let go of blame and focus on a solution.
3. Make sure you are in a calm state of mind.
4. Confront the individual in private and show respect.
5. Sincerely and honestly state your intentions to ease the tension
and solve the problem.
6. Put it on yourself first. Ask, “What can I do
to work with you in a more cooperative manner?” “How can I do
to help the situation?” “How can I be a better boss?” “Is there
something about me that makes you unhappy?” “Do you realize
that we have people on our team who don’t deliver what is
needed for others to do their own job effectively?”
8. Offer solutions and negotiate
9. “Ask – can we agree that from now on….”
Conflict With Your Boss
I’ve been told that the Harvard University Masters program teaches their students to take the following approach if you have a problem with your boss or if you need to confront them about a problem on your team:
1. Tell them how it’s affecting you.
2. Tell them how it’s affecting your team.
3. Tell them how it’s ultimately affecting customers
If they don’t take action, ask again. If still no change, let it go, and focus on the things you can control.
Conflict in Your Personal Life
Let me say first, that I’m not a therapist, but here’s what I’ve learned that may be helpful in your personal relationships: First, identify what you and the other individual really wants and needs and consider the different possibilities for working that out. Ask yourself if YOU are being difficult. Encourage the person to work with you to resolve your problems and conflicts in ways that work in the best interest of both and agree to at least meet each other half-way.
Keys to Resolve Conflict in Your Personal Life
1. Make the relationship your first priority
2. Strive for balance without being to submissive or too demanding. 3. Be flexible in problem solving efforts.
What to Keep in Mind…
Sometimes it’s best to walk away, which is best when emotions are running high. Sometimes it’s handling a situation right on the spot. Most problems can be worked out in mutually satisfactory ways if both people are mature. But sometimes the problem is a boundary issue someone may have and there is not room to negotiate. Know your boundaries, and strive to make an agreement. If not, agree to disagree. Above all, don’t bring your personal problems to the workplace. It’s not professional.
Monday Morning Motivation:
Here’s how to keep yourself motivated when conflict exists.
1. Do something about it or shut up.
2. Pick your battles. You can’t win them all.
3. Recognize that people and companies are not perfect and neither
4. Don’t let it get to you.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
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