Understand what conflict management means in organizations and how it can be applied

Did you know that conflict management in organizations can be a source of growth for everyone involved in the situations?

However, the opposite is also true: if there is no mediation that generates resolution to the conflict, it will certainly impact the personal and collective performance of the teams.

As a leader, you have probably been in a situation where conflict management was extremely necessary. But, if you still feel like you need to get more knowledge on the subject, then you’re in the right place!

In this article, we will explain the main causes of conflicts in organizations and show ways to manage them. Read on and find out!

What are the main causes that lead to conflicts in organizations?

According to the scientific article “Six ways to resolve workplace conflicts”, written by psychologist Art Bell (2002), the most frequent causes of conflicts in companies are:

Resources

When two or more collaborators depend on the same tool to fulfill their function. This can happen both with an object — such as a meeting room — and with a human resource — such as an intern, for example.

Style

Style conflict occurs when there are opposing personalities and different ways of dealing with routines and processes.

Perceptions

As with styles, there are also cases where professionals’ perceptions are conflicting. An example is when two people view the same incident in dramatically different ways.

Goals

Conflicts related to objectives end up arising when different leaders create opposing directions for their teams. If one of them encourages his team to generate more demand, while the other proposes to reduce the number of projects, for example, there will certainly be conflicts throughout the development of the work.

Pressure

Pressure conflicts can occur when two employees depend on each other to execute something for which they are being pressured, going along the same lines as goal conflicts.

Roles

Conflicting roles can occur when an employee is asked to perform a role that is outside of their job requirements or expertise or when another employee is assigned to perform the same work. This naturally creates power struggles over territory.

What is conflict management and how does it contribute to these situations?

Now that we understand the main causes of conflict in companies, let’s talk about how to solve them.

In this sense, conflict management is the most assertive way for leaders to be able to transform these situations into sources of learning and growth for all involved.

Conflict management in organizations is nothing more than a strategic plan that focuses on maintaining differences in the team while establishing a line of respect, empathy, and good coexistence among employees.

The most important point about conflict management in organizations is the fact that it needs to be put into practice even before a conflict exists. Thus, it is ensured that each individual is prepared to deal with these situations that end up being inevitable in the corporate environment.

How to manage conflicts in organizations?

You must be wondering, then, how to create a conflict management plan and put it into practice with your team.

The truth is, for good conflict management with your team, you need to go beyond the basic tips (being a good listener and helping your team communicate well).

It is necessary to understand the steps of conflict management. From there, you will be able to create actions to put them into practice.

So, let’s understand the essential steps of conflict management?

Stages of conflict management

1 – Prevention

It consists of a set of practices that reduce friction points that can generate conflict between employees; creates a protective barrier for the team to work together.

In this context, leaders can encourage a collaborative environment, provide team integration, and align individual goals to meet a common collective goal.

2 – Softening

Once the conflict is established, this step is based on negotiation so that there is a de-escalation in the conflict.

At this point, the leader is expected to be a good listener, understand different points of view, and take a neutral stance on the situation.

3 – Proposition

When the softening step is not enough to resolve the conflict, the leader’s role shifts from mediator to resolver. In this case, arbitrariness is expected when proposing the solution that it deems to be most appropriate for that specific situation.

4 – Negotiation

Negotiation is an expected step after the leader proposes a solution, as it may involve two or more different opinions of those involved in the conflict.

It is time, then, to find a solution that balances the two extremes, so that the parties involved reach a consensus, where each will exercise the flexibility to compromise in some aspect.

5 – Integration

Finally, integration is a technique that aims to form a welcoming environment after conflict management. The goal is to complete the process and turn it into learning for the team’s next individual and collective experiences.

As seen throughout the article, conflict management in organizations is a complex task, which requires flexibility on the part of the leader, since each situation is unique and cannot be solved in a binary way.

Skills such as active listening, good communication, and flexibility continue to be the greatest allies in managing conflicts in the team.


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