At the close of this session, you will be able to:
Identify the causes of workplace conflict.
State why it is important to resolve conflict in the
Describe the methods of resolving conflict.
List the Do’s and Don’ts of workplace conflict.
Describe the steps in the conflict resolution process.
In a Nutshell…..
With respect to conflict managers
must be know the “Three R’s”:
Symptoms of Conflict
Lack of communication
People complaining/Culture of Blame
Why Should We Be Concerned About Conflict?
Redirects employee’s attention and effort away from their
Destroys teams and team effectiveness.
Reduces communication among team members
Can lead to complaints of discrimination and the like.
Makes employees unhappy.
What is Conflict?
Conflict is a process in which one party perceives that
their interests are being opposed or negatively affected
by another party.
Conflict can exist between individuals or groups.
Conflict is a natural part of the group decision making
Problems with group decision making
It takes more time
There is more opportunity for conflict
Tendency to focus on one or two alternatives only
and get nothing done
Ideas may not be in line with organizational goals or
may not be accepted
Pros of group decision making
Usually arrive at better decisions/more ideas
More buy-in from participants
Increased group cohesion
Everyone is on the same page
There are Two Kinds of Conflict
Task Conflict – “Good Conflict” or “Functional
Relational Conflict – “Not Good”. Dysfunctional
Conflict Can be a Good Thing
Task Conflict can help:
Generate new/better outcomes and ideas
Enhance team commitment
Foster constructive change
Antecedents of Conflict
Incompatible personalities or values
Overlapping or unclear job boundaries
Unreasonable or unclear policies, standards or
Unreasonable or unclear deadlines
Collective decision making
Unresolved relationship problems
Diverse work populations
Lack of perceived organizational justice
Conflict Management Styles
Most people have one or two preferred styles
Helpful to know that you have other options and the
option you choose should be dependent on the
results you want to achieve
There is no right or wrong style, just styles that are
more adaptive to certain circumstances.
Structural Changes to Reduce Conflict
Emphasize superordinate goals
Clarify rules, roles and procedures.
Don’t shun conflict – conflict festers!!
Stop and cool off – There is little point in trying to talk through the issues
when both people are upset. Give it a little time and let tempers cool down.
Come together when each party has achieved some sort of equilibrium.
Have everyone talk and listen to each other – Make sure that nobody is
hiding from the issue at hand. Keep everyone talking and expressing
themselves honestly and openly. Make sure all issues are on the table.
Find out what everyone needs – Sometimes these dialogues can focus on
complaints rather than developing solutions. Determine what everyone
needs from the situation and strive for a solution where everyone’s needs
Conflict Resolution – part 2
Brainstorm solutions – Everyone will have their own vision of an
ideal outcome for themselves. The challenge will be to avoid forcing
our solutions on the conflict situation and allow solutions to emerge
out of creative thinking on everyone’s part.
Choose the idea that everyone can live with – One of the ways to
break from a negative conflict cycle is to find solutions that you all
feel are fair under the circumstances
Create a plan and implement it – To make sure that the conflict
does not re-emerge, you must make a blueprint. Plan ways of
working together that will keep emotional outbursts to a minimum.
Meet with each party individually to identify the issues and ascertain
how amenable parties are to mediation.
Meet in a private, quiet space.
Lay out ground rules.
Each party takes turning putting all their cards on the table.
Identify areas of agreement.
Clarify points, terms used and areas of disagreement.
Parties take turns going back and forth. Takes breaks as need be.
Identify areas where the parties can “agree to disagree”.
Keep issues focused on work and behavior and not personalities.
Take sides where necessary and appropriate.
When parties begin to repeat themselves the discussion has gone full