Conflict Management


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Conflict Management : Can conflicts become productive at work

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  • MOTIVATION BEHIND CHOOSING THIS TOPIC Favourite topics about interpersonal things – Conflict Recently, on a professional network found an interesting discussion if conflicts can be productive at work Within a span of a few hours, there were hundreds of responses. In other words, it’s an engaging topic My interest in this subject is also grown as having worked in different teams and people with different cultural backgrounds I can relate to it as much as any one of you who has been working in teams as it is team-work and bonding which helps to achieve organisations goals
  • Understand Conflicts better – Definition, Types, Importance, Indicators, Why is it a difficult art to masterIdentify Conflicting Styles & Behaviours – Different Outcomes of Conflict Behaviour, Kilmann & Thomas (1975) & Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1964)Discover Benefits associated with Constructive Conflicts – Discuss Benefits Use Effective Conflict Management & Conflict Mastery – Techniques & Strategies
  • Until mid-90’s most researches regarded conflicts as destructive or negative conflicts. It was from mid-90’s many studies came into picture where Type C conflicts or Constructive Conflicts came into the existence.
  • Body Language – Body language proves to be a key factor to identify conflicts are heading towards a negative or a destructive path.Techniques such as : Mirroring the other person to build rapport, Being close to the person physically, Aligning your body in same direction if argument gets too heatedDisagreements – Ask the question why is that important to you helps understand why there are disagreements between you and others. It builds rapport and comprehend others point of view. Voicing such disagreements should never be done publicly or through media as it can damage reputation for the organisation as well as affect person voicing their opinion adversely. Disagreements of any nature should always be dealt with between the parties affected or involved, without outside interference.With-holding bad news – It will only get harder to break a bad news at a later stage, making it difficult for the recipient to get over it. In order to avoid conflicts, one can get over it and out in the open thereby allowing everyone to move past an issueSurprises – can be a good thing in case someone likes surprises. However, in a workplace keeping surprises about any seen/expected changes can provide to have detrimental affects on those who receive such surprises. Such surprises can be avoided by keeping everyone informed of any special changes, especially ones that may impact others directly. Keeping open communication and transparency with team members only increases harmony and encourages reliability and trust between two partiesIncreasing lack of respect – No matter the person’s age, qualification, social status, or career stage everyone deserves to be respected in their own way. Adhere to the old saying “Do unto others, as you’d want them to do unto you” Lack of clear goals -Team goals & organisational goals are a must if one has to reach somewhere. Setting goals as a team as well as developing a plan of action on how to achieve these goals encourages team members and motivate them to work towards a certain outcome. Promoting team’s creativity produces positive results. Holding these discussions and publicly appreciating one’s efforts lead to further engagement and support from people who have a hand in producing these results. Without focus on goals or clarity on what is the plan to achieve may result into individual within a team having differences leading to further destructive conflicts.Rumours – In any conflict situation, there are two or more parties involved. With more and more awareness of such conflicts to outsiders this number is bound to increase from hundreds to thousands if not more. Involvement of media can also result into rumours being spread to a vast majority of audiences which may not be actually true leading to a debacle. Hence, it is critical to avoid involving media or any outsiders to control rumours in conflict situations
  • Overview of Different Conflicting Styles & Behaviours & their outcomes can be demonstrated with the works of two men Kilmann & Thomas (1975) using their Different Conflict Behaviours & Outcomes model.Consider the figure above, Goal for all parties is to arrive at a win-win situation by ways of Collaboration. This is where we find all positive thoughts. People are Focused on working together (Co-operating) for a solutionandb)At the same time they are (Assertive) on their thoughts on the task at hand
  • The outcomes seen from Conflicting Styles can be linked with Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of Needs to comprehend human behaviour. This is useful for Conflict Management and Conflict Mastery.
  • 1. DIRECT APPROACH : This may be the best approach of all. It concentrates on the leader confronting the issue head-on. Though conflict is uncomfortable to deal with, it is best to look at issues objectively and to face them as they are. If criticism is used, it must be constructive to the recipients. This approach counts on the techniques of problem-solving and normally leaves everyone with a sense of resolution, because issues are brought to the surface and dealt with.2. BARGAINING : This is an excellent technique when both parties have ideas on a solution yet cannot find common ground. Often a third party, such as a team leader, is needed to help find the compromise. Compromise involves give and take on both sides, however, and usually ends up with both walking away equally dissatisfied. 3. Enforcement ofTeam Rules - Avoid using this method if possible, it can bring about hard feelings toward the leader and the team. This technique is only used when it is obvious that a member does not want to be a team player and refuses to work with the rest. If enforcement has to be used on an individual, it may be best for that person to find another team.
  • 4.RETREAT:Only use this method when the problem isn't real to begin with. By simply avoiding it or working around it, a leader can often delay long enough for the individual to cool off. When used in the right environment by an experienced leader this technique can help to prevent minor incidents that are the result of someone having a bad day from becoming real problems that should never have occurred.5. DE-EMPHASIS:This is a form of bargaining where the emphasis is on the areas of agreement. When parties realise that there are areas where they are in agreement, they can often begin to move in a new direction.
  • #1 Have A PlanLike any project, having a plan for reaching your outcomes is key in facilitating and achieving conflict mastery. Define reasons for why this is an outcome you want for your team and/or organization. When the motivation is in place, create your plan. Ask important questions. How far are you willing to go? When are conflicts becoming destructive? Why are you going to keep disagreements constructive? When should you take steps to change conflict behavior? At what point is it getting too intense?#2 Define A Mutual OutcomeWhen starting up a project, meeting, negotiation, etc, be sure to state common outcome at first. Common, or mutual outcome means one that everyone partaking in the endeavour have been a part of setting. That way one can always remind one another of the higher goal in the process if things take a destructive turn. Also, by having mutual focus point, everyone is working with the same end in mind the whole time. This focus from everyone can help make it easier to work together.#2 Define A Mutual OutcomeWhen starting up a project, meeting, negotiation, etc, be sure to state common outcome at first. Common, or mutual outcome means one that everyone partaking in the endeavor have been a part of setting. That way one can always remind one another of the higher goal in the process if things take a destructive turn. Also, by having mutual focus point, everyone is working with the same end in mind the whole time. This focus from everyone can help make it easier to work together.#3 Create A Physical Space For ConflictsHave a room designated for constructive conflicts. Similar to the idea of using different thinking hats, being in a room specified for constructive conflict can help team members or meeting participants adopt the right mindset. With time a conflict mastery approach can be automatically conditioned in such a setting.
  • #4 Intelligent Team Composition with real teamsSaid differently, put the people that need to be on the team on the team. Smart conflict management with a goal in conflict mastery have no room, or need, for allergies and safe-teaming in the team composition process. In other words, if someone comes to you and asks specifically to not be put on a team with a certain other person, get to the bottom of it and move on. Losing out on great solutions and possibilities simply because people don’t want to sit down and work things out isn’t a good solution.Create Real TeamsIf possible, make arrangements to have compositions of real teams when teamwork is involved. Real teams, or real groups, is a term coined by Hackman (1987) referring to teams where all members bring unique competence to the table. Besides saving resources by not having unnecessary people on the team, real teams foster trust among the team members because they all bring their own skills to the project, and are dependent on the other team members at the same time.#5 Define Roles For Conflict SituationsShare responsibilities to ensure that the constructive conflict processes work as planned. Divide important roles to people in the team/meeting. Who will take charge and break in when the situation seems to turn destructive? Who will play the devil’s advocate and prevent group think, as well as making sure all questions and issues have been raised. Who will make sure that there is progress? What are the boundaries for the project manager?#6 Choose A Neutral Seating ArrangementIt may seem like trivial point to make, but by making sure all participants are seated in a way that puts everyone on an equal basis (i.e. by using a round or even sided table), no one is put in an immediate “boss position”. That way equal participation in the discussion is encouraged. This can be especially important when brainstorming.#7 Express Your Understanding Of Situations, Statements And ActionsAs Stephen Covey says, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Ask questions regarding what is said, and make sure to use the first person when you do this. As I understand this…, have I understood you correctly if what you mean is…, I experienced that remark as if you were trying to… is this correct, or have have I mistaken you? By focusing on the first person form you avoid putting words in someone else’s mouth. Also, you are the only one who can know how you feel, and therefore other participants in a conflict situation will have to take your word for it.
  • Conflict Management

    1. 1. CONFLICT MANAGEMENTCan Conflicts Be Productive At Work ?
    2. 2. LEARNING OUTCOMESAt the end of this presentation, you will be able to Understand Conflicts better Identify different Conflicting Styles & Behaviours Discover benefits associated with Conflicts in workplace Use effective Conflict Management & Mastery techniques Recognize & Implement key pointers in successful Conflict Managements
    3. 3. CONFLICT : DEFINITION Conflict is a “process that begins when one party perceives that other as negatively affected or is affecting, something that he/she cares about” Another school of thought, states Conflict arises:  From Differences  When individuals come together in teams, with differences in Power, Values & Attitudes Ultimately, leading to creation of Conflict
    4. 4. CONFLICT : ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS CONSTRUCTIVEDESTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS CONFLICTS Known as Type A  Known as Type C Negative Conflict  Positive Conflict  Task-based People-based  Centred around Centred around “Solving” the task “Ammunition” against people  People work on 1 People work as project and have no “Opponents” issues working in 1 team
    5. 5. CONFLICT INDICATORS IN WORKPLACE Body Language Disagreements With-holding bad news Surprises Increasing lack of respect Lack of clear goals Rumours
    6. 6. WHY IS IT DIFFICULT ART TO MASTERCONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS Organisations lack routines to conflict management Blame game between parties Forgetting actual reasons of conflict Sitting with Destructive conflicts leads to burnt bridges between people, rumours, further difference leading to further conflicts
    8. 8. MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS (1964) Indepen • Chasing & Achieving Dreams independently, Free of dence constraints, Total Achiever Self- • Morality, Creativity, Problem-solving, lack of Actualizati prejudice on Esteem/ • Self- esteem, Confidence, Achievement, Respe Recognition ct of/from others Acceptance/ • Friendship, Family, Love Belonging • Employment, Property, Health, Safety/Security Needs Resources • Breathing, food, water, Physiological / Survival Needs sleep
    9. 9. UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT CONFLICTBEHAVIOURS, NEEDS & STYLES • Uncooperative and shuns responsibility • Confrontation & Reactive takes spot-light (Passive) • Keep your thoughtsSafety / Security & feeling to Needs yourself No concern for people • Accept bad treatment but fume AVOIDING inwardly, sulk or pout • Doesn’t want anyone to volunteer ideas or opinions
    10. 10. UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT CONFLICTBEHAVIOURS, NEEDS & STYLES • Don’t like to make decisions, get people angry, be Reactive a leader or a star Acceptance / (Indecisive) • Like to be a team- Belonging player & letting Needs People-oriented others shine • Tell people more ACCOMODATING than they need to know • Gets hurt easily
    11. 11. UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT CONFLICTBEHAVIOURS, NEEDS & STYLES • Takes charge, runs Proactive the show, be a Start and grabs the creditEsteem / (Controlling)Recognition & • Does what it takes to get their wayIndependence No concern for peopleNeeds • Likely to lose tempter when COMPETING others don’t use anger as a club
    12. 12. UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT CONFLICTBEHAVIOURS, NEEDS & STYLES • Leads & takes on tough decisions & challenges • Shares the Proactive spotlightIndependence / (Decisive) • ControlsSelf-Actualization situation, not peopleNeeds People-oriented • Listen to inputs, but does what he/she COLLABORATING feels is best • Stays in control and focussed on the task
    13. 13. CONFLICTMANAGEMENT & MASTERY Conflict Management is a process of creating best environment for conflicts to occur as well as solving situations that have become destructive Conflict Mastery is the ability to take any conflict situation either keep it constructive or take it from a path of destructive to constructive path.
    14. 14. MANAGING DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS Strategy 1: Direct Approach •Best Approach •Leader confront front-on Strategy 2: Bargaining •Compromising as no solution yet. •TL being involved Strategy 3: Enforcement of Team Rules •Avoid as it brings hard feelings b/w leader & team •Technique employed when a member does not want to be a team player
    15. 15. MANAGING DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS Strategy 4: Retreat •Employed when there is no problem •Used as a cool-off period •Particularly useful when used in the right environments by leaders to prevent minor incidents that are a result of someone having a bad day, from becoming real problems which should have never happened. Strategy 5: De-Emphasis •Form of bargaining where emphasis is on areas of agreement • When parties realise that there are areas of agreement, they often move to a new direction
    16. 16. STRATEGIES TO MASTERING CONFLICTSStrategy 1: Have a Plan •Define reasons why this is the outcome needed out of conflicts. •How far are you willing to go? •When are the conflicts becoming destructive •How are you going to keep disagreements constructive •When should you take steps to change conflict behaviourStrategy 2: Define a Mutual Outcome • Set a desired outcome before you start a meet, negotiation or project. • Helps remaining focussed on task/goals when conflicts turn destructiveStrategy 3: Create a Physical Space •Designate a room (Similar to different thinking hats on) to have right mindsets of the participants. •Conflict Mastery approach can be automatically conditioned in such a setting after using such a space over a period of time.
    17. 17. STRATEGIES TO MASTERING CONFLICTSStrategy 4: Intelligent Team Combinations with real teams • Place the right people which need to be in a team • Have no room for safe-teaming or allergies. • Select team that brings unique competence to the tableStrategy 5: Define roles for conflict situations • Share responsibilities as planned • Divide important roles to people in team meeting • Who takes charge in case conflicts gets destructive? • Who plays the devil’s advocate and prevent group think? • Who makes sure there is progress? • What are the boundaries for the PM?Strategy 6: Choose a neutral seating arrangement • Make sure participants are seated on a equal basisStrategy 7: Seek to Understand, then to be Understood • Express what you make of the situation, statement & actions • By choosing phrases like, what I understand of the situation is… makes the focus shift on the first person rather than putting words in someone’s mouth
    18. 18. CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS :BENEFITS – WHY DESIRABLE? Leads to new innovative ideas & approaches to organise processes and increased interest in dealing with issues at hand Facilitates surfacing of important issues Provide opportunities to team members to Develop interpersonal & communication skills Reaching a consensus allows to reach better decisions as people share their views and strive for the best solution NOTE: When it becomes negative, its left to escalate to the point where people feel defeated, a combative climate of distrust and suspicion develops
    19. 19. KEY STEPS IN CONFLICTMANAGEMENT Buy Time to think things over Pay attention to your body reaction (Has Fight or instinct being triggered) Take a deep breath for oxygen inflow (Better thinking and analysing) Resist snapping / fast resort – Seek to understand Use negotiation skills and look for a win-win Only negotiate in an atmosphere of calm Listen- Both parties and use Active Listening
    20. 20. BE PREPARED Know yourself Understand your preferred style Keep the big picture in mind Assess your personal power and the power of your position Do the same process for your counterpart Analyse your choices?
    21. 21. QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF Am I presenting my own view in the most rational, understandable way? Am I changing my mind because of argument, or is there a good, sound reason? Have I ever ignored attempts to consult with me about a problem before? Am I listening properly to others and hearing what they are really saying? Do I give others the chance to express themselves?
    22. 22. POSITIVE SELF-TALK IN DIFFICULTSITUATIONS “This isn’t about me” “I can stay calm” “We can resolve this”