Allen C. Amason, of Mississippi State University, has studiedconflict and its role in decision-making.He suggests there are two types of conflict:Cognitive - conflict aimed at issues, ideas, principles, orprocess. Affective - conflict aimed at people, emotions, or values.His studies showed the presence of both types in any groupsetting; but hes clear to explain that cognitive conflict isconstructive, while affective conflict is destructive(Brockmann, 1996).
Thomas K. Capozzoli (1995), reinforces this by describing the outcomes ofconstructive and destructive conflict:Constructive conflicts exists when…1. People change and grow personally from the conflict 2. The conflict results in a solution to a problem 3.It increases involvement of everyone affected by the conflict4. It builds cohesiveness among the members of the teamDestructive conflicts exists when…1 . No decision is reached and problem still exists 2. It diverts energy away from more value-add activities 3. It destroys the morale of the team members 4. It polarizes or divides the team
Unmet needs are both the cause and the solution to all conflict.Being able to identify our own and another’s needs, allows us toachieve a win-win solution by:- Skillfully steering away from accusations- De-escalating anger- Getting to the bottom of the problem- Seeking mutual understandingWe should develop skills and practices to ensure that needs areclearly identified, expressed and properly heard.
SELF- ESTEEMOur self-esteem determines our thoughts, communication and behavior.The level of our self-esteem may lead us to interchange through the rolesof ‘Victim’, ‘Rescuer’ and ‘Persecutor’, perhaps even without us beingconscious of it.Learning to manage its fluctuations and understand self-esteem as a toolfor conflict resolution, enables us to move towards clearer communicationand joint problem-solving.AngerAnger is no more than a fear and an unmet need lashing out in order to beheard.Making anger an ally in conflict resolution, enables us to address itdifferently and get to the root of the problem, quickly and effectively.
EmpathyWe all want empathy. We want people to see things from our perspective;to consider our feelings and our circumstances and to speak to us withrespect. So why does it go wrong?Empathy goes out the window when:We are caught in a blame-game and feel the need to defend ourselvesWhen we want to be ‘right’ to prove or restore our power.When we take another’s stance at face value, without considering that itmay mask their fears, uncertainties, insecurities and affected self-esteemAt those times we become so driven to defend our position and pride thatwe don’t consider the impact of our words on others or even the power ofour assumptions pulling us onto the collision path.
Dealing with strong personalities and bullying behaviourThere are many diverse types of personality and some ‘press ourbuttons’ more than others.Strong personalities are those who stop the flow of clear communicationby being:- Forceful or bullying- Evasive and denying (including sulking)- Exclusive- Rumour-mongeringMore often than not we put up with those traits, try to ignore them, or welet off steam by discussing their behaviour with others.Both responses give rise to resentment, office gossip and tensions.Dealing with strong personalities requires clear communication on ourpart.
Team DynamicsGreat projects can lose steam and group cohesion as aresult of work pressure, time-keeping, communicationand behaviour styles, to mention a few.Unclear communication can lead to:- Power struggles- Different work pace, attitude and ethics- Gossip, cliques and resentment- Communication breakdown
YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO:- Conduct on-the-spot Conflict Resolution- Resolve communication difficulties effectively- Address challenging or bullying behaviour and power games.- Increase team building, motivation and cooperation through Conflict Resolution skills- Identify their own triggers and assumptions- Address anger, self-esteem and multicultural diversity- Learn cost-benefit decision-making tools- Identify and resolve the real issues behind gossip, poor performance and bad communication- Move away from the blame-game