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Method: Leadership and Managerial Techniques

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is the disagreement through which the parties involved perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns. Conflict is a fact of life in personal and organisational life. It often emerges more when people are stressed.

Poor conflict management can cause relationships breakdown, bad performance of the team and detrimental effect to personal health. Learning to deal with conflict in a positive and constructive way, without excessive stress, is therefore an important way to improve relationships and own health.

There are three types of conflict

  • Personal or relational conflicts.
  • Conflicts about goals, structures, procedures and means
  • Conflicts of interest concern the ways in which the means of achieving goals are distributed.

General responses to Conflict:

  • Emotional responses: These are the feelings we experience in conflict, ranging from anger and fear to despair and confusion
  • Cognitive responses: These are our ideas and thoughts about a conflict, often present as inner voices or internal observers in the midst of a situation.
  • Physical responses: These responses include heightened stress, bodily tension, increased perspiration, accelerated breathing, nausea, and rapid heartbeat etc.

Conflict is often best understood by examining the consequences of various behaviours at a point in time. Different people may show different behaviours under conflict and stress, and the behaviour for the same person may also differ in different situations. Usually a person in conflict exhibit any of the below behaviour traits

Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding or Collaborating

There are a wide range of useful skills for handling conflict. Possibly the most important is assertiveness. One should to be able to express one’s views clearly and firmly, but without aggression. Below are the steps which help a lot during conflict resolution  

  • Acknowledge that a difficult situation exists
  • View Conflict as Opportunity
  • Hit Conflict Head-on
  • Let individuals express their feelings.
  • Define the problem
  • Define Acceptable Behaviour and determine underlying need.
  • Find common areas of agreement, no matter how small
  • Find solutions to satisfy needs
  • Determine follow-up you will take to monitor actions
  • Determine what you'll do if the conflict goes unresolved.

Finally, we should keep in mind that conflict resolution requires courage and leadership qualities. It takes courage to honestly and clearly articulate your needs, and it takes courage to sit down and listen to others. It takes good intentions and courage to look for opportunities and find a win-win solution in a conflict. Let us all strive to find that silver lining and work towards that.