Conflict resolution- Settling disputes at workplace
Conflict is an integral part of the work-life. Professionals should consider their work-life from a realistic point of view and face all challenges in a positive way. Employees would have conflicts among themselves or with a client and HR managers will have to solve the issues. In all these cases, the main quality expected from you is patience and the ability to find conflict resolution.
Any employee who frequently blows a fuse will hardly have progress in his/her profession. For the same reason, resolving conflicts rationally is an art that you should learn for a fruitful career. Moreover, it is a mandatory quality for professions like HR administration in which the person is mainly responsible for managing employees.
Conflict resolution definition
What is conflict resolution? To put it simply, it is an informal or formal process of finding a fair solution to a disagreement between two or more parties. The complexity of the process may differ according to the gravity of the situation at hand and the number of people involved.
Stages of conflict
Usually, conflict develops in a number of stages as below:
- The latent stage: The first stage of conflict is inexplicit as even though an issue exists, the involved people won’t be aware of it. It refers to certain conditions that may lead to a conflict in the future.
- The perceived stage: At this stage, the people involved will be fully aware of the issue.
- The felt stage: One or more people in the conflict will start to feel stress and try to solve it.
- The manifest stage: At this juncture, the conflict is explicit and the other people at the organization can see it directly. This may include arguments, sabotage or open aggression in extreme cases.
- The aftermath stage: This is the outcome of the conflict which completely depends on how an issue is resolved. Sometimes, it may boost a group's performance or may cause a hindrance.
Conflict resolution strategies
As two people will never have the same opinions, expectations, and style of working, conflict is a natural outcome of the interactions at the workplace. Thomas Kilmann Instrument (TKI) is a model used by HR professionals around the world to deal with conflict. It has shown five different styles of conflict management.
Five major conflict management styles
The different conflict management styles are defined based on two dimensions—assertiveness and cooperativeness. Assertiveness refers to an attitude in which a person strives to satisfy his/her own concerns while disregarding the other. Cooperativeness is a liberal approach in which a person tries to accommodate the other person’s concerns.
- Collaborating style: It involves exploring an issue in detail to find the underlying needs and the goals of the parties involved. They will analyze the disagreement and come up with a creative solution that meets their needs.
- Competing style: This is an assertive style wherein an individual tries hard to prove his/her point right and go to the extremes to win over the other.
- Avoiding style: Some individuals tend to back out from a situation when they realize that their concerns will not be addressed. They won’t deal with the conflict and may postpone the issue or simply avoid it.
- Accommodating style: It is an exact opposite style of competing as the individual neglects his/her own concerns to accommodate the other person's needs. It involves accepting another person's opinion for resolving a conflict.
- Compromising style: This is a moderate way of finding a resolution to the conflict that satisfies the concerns of both parties.
Conflict resolution skills
Conflict resolution skills are mandatory for all employees and especially the HR professionals as they have to manage the human resources in an organization. Conflict resolution in the workplace is of utmost importance as it can affect the performance of an organization if the issue grows beyond control. They should also take a proactive approach if they can sense the development of a conflict as it will help to solve the issue before it becomes worse.
Training in conflict resolution will greatly benefit the employees to take a tactical approach in dealing with issues. It is essential for the team leaders, HR managers and all other employees who are frequently engaging in interactions with other people.