Conflict Management – Reducing Work-Place Strife While Improving Performance

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Conflict Management – Reducing Work-Place Strife While Improving Performance

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Of all the many benefits of leadership coaching, one of the most helpful regards conflict management; something that can apply to all levels of staff and management for the enhancement of workplace effectiveness and the well-being of all.

Conflict management isn’t simply about alleviating conflict. More accurately, conflict management reduces the negative aspects of conflict while maximizing the positive aspects created by the conflict. In group situations, as might be encountered in business and workplace scenarios, conflict management can improve group awareness and outcomes; thereby cultivating better organizational performance. Equally, conflict management delivers benefits to the individual, which, by example, can include reduced stress with improved personal effectiveness and happiness.

Examples of the various types of conflict include interpersonal (between two people); intrapersonal (which is conflict within an individual); intergroup (that is, conflict between different teams or groups of people); and intragroup conflict (which is essentially the conflict that can occur between individuals in a group or team). Conflict can arise when there are opposing ideas, methods, and strategies. But conflict – and the means by which it originates and is expressed – can encompass so much more. People we work with might be antagonistic or offensive; or they might be excessively demanding and uncaring about our requirements to do our jobs effectively. Others might be manipulative and deceptive, which is certain to lead to conflict. Different outlooks, different ideologies, different personality types, and even different management styles can be sources of conflict.

The ABCs of Resilience at Work” (which can be read on this website) essentially refers to the process of evaluating a situation. This system, in short, takes into account Adversity, Belief, and Consequences. In conflict resolution, this is further enhanced by a methodology that identifies fives strategies as it applies to addressing conflict:

  • Accommodation
  • Avoidance
  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Compromise

Developing and employing these skills requires the abilities to effectively employ the methods. In embarking on conflict management to improve work-flow effectiveness and work-related relationships, much can be gained in virtually any workplace scenario. Some of the skills that can be developed include:

  • Awareness of the associated emotions and communication skills that apply to conflict;
  • Understanding one’s own undesirable triggers and inherent conflict resolution styles;
  • Learning how to recognize others’ needs as it applies to disputes and conflict situations;
  • Formulating productive skills that can apply to conflict resolution and conciliation;
  • Developing the confidence and means to apply different strategies in resolving conflict;
  • Learning how to change characteristic counterproductive behaviors;
  • Knowing the techniques to productively address disputes;

Learning and understanding the tools of these various conflict resolution styles and methods help build on improved work-place relationships and effectiveness with reduced stress and greater skillsets for problem-solving tasks.

Professional Leadership Coach Mustang Positive Professional Development in the Greater Toronto Area shares a recent experience regarding conflict resolution coaching:

I recently worked with an executive client who had ongoing conflict with his boss. His plan was to threaten to quit. That is not generally a good strategy. Sometimes leaving a position is the right strategy; but it’s never wise to use quitting as a threat. We spent time helping him ‘Pay Attention to the Right Things’, combined with understanding the difference between a Response and a Reaction.

As described in Psychology Today (Matt James, Ph.D., September 1, 2016), “A reaction is instant… When you say or do something ‘without thinking,’ that’s the unconscious mind running the show. A reaction is based in the moment and doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level [is] a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later… A response… takes into consideration the well-being of not only you but those around you. It weighs the long term effects and stays in line with your core values.”

Mustang PPD continues with what resulted in an excellent positive outcome…

When the time came for addressing the conflict with his colleague, my executive client did not react. He responded appropriately – and legitimately strongly. The result was resolution of the conflict. If my client had reacted emotionally, the result might have been the end of his career with that company or heightened conflict.

Conflict management and conflict resolution are invaluable to best practices across an unlimited number of applications. Learn more today about Mustang Positive Professional Development and the firm’s coaching and team-building services and expertise. All inquiries are welcomed.

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