How to Manage Work Place Conflict
An organization is a place where one gets to interact with people from all walks of life. You will meet people with strong values and beliefs, people who are driven by success and fame, people who will do anything to pave their way up the ladder and people who just thrive at watching others fall. In such a vast set up, conflicts or disputes are a very common occurrence. It is caused due to the difference in perceptions and personalities of so many individuals working under the same roof. It can occur either between two individuals or two groups.
- How Great Managers Can Handle Conflict in the Workplace?
- Difference Between Conflict Resolution and Leadership
In the wake of a conflict, leaders and managers play a pivotal role to solve the issues giving rise to the conflict and bringing the focus back on the task at hand. But many a time, it may so happen that the leaders or the managers forget that their role is to lead the team and be respected for their leadership skills and not to be “liked” by the team.
One may not always like his manager, but can certainly respect him. In order to be “liked” by their team, managers, at times, choose to ignore the conflict, assuming it will give way on its own. But the role of a leader is to bring his team or two individuals who don’t see eye to eye, to a common platform.
For such a case, the following are the various ways in which managers or individuals can deal with the conflict.
1. Proper Communication
As mentioned above, most conflicts occur when there is a lack of proper communication. Lack of communication can happen in terms of any information not being passed clearly or being misinterpreted, or roles and responsibilities not defined clearly. In such a case, it is very important to take conscious efforts that messages and information are passed on correctly. If you have not understood the context clearly, ask questions. Don’t shy away from asking your manager to explain in detail, if you are not very clear about the task or project or your area of responsibility.
2. State Your Point Tactfully
It is the difference in perception that leads to conflicts. In such a case, help your peers or colleagues understand your perspective better, without by-passing their perspective. If you want someone to listen to you and understand your point of view, it is important that you make them feel they are being understood. Find a common ground without being defensive or argumentative. Do not play the blame game. Remember, you are trying to understand and be understood.
3. Handle Conflicts Right at the Onset
Remember, the more you prolong solving an issue or bringing a grievance out in the open, the longer it will take to mend it. Clear the air before it turns foggy.
If a peer or a subordinate has done something that has made you angry or you have felt that your manager has been unfair, it’s always better to just talk to them about it. It may so happen that you realize that a colleague has felt hurt or angry by something you said. Do not hesitate to apologise.
In order to solve a conflict, it’s important to observe and talk it out with the other person.
4. Think Ahead
Sometimes, we get so engulfed by the idea of “winning” an argument or letting our egos cloud our thinking, we fail to see the larger picture. Ask yourself, where will this conflict lead you to? Focus on the consequence and it may help you realize why it is important to solve it. Think tactfully and do not shy away from taking help of a colleague or a manager in solving the issue.