Conflict Management: Resolving Conflicts in a Team
Conflicts in a team are not unusual. It is important to solve these conflicts constructively.
After all, things can’t always go smoothly. Conflicts exist everywhere, both in private and professional life. They are a part of life and somehow a way of expressing opinions and taking a stand, and this can understandably not always happen quietly. However, if conflicts are not resolved in time, they can lead to tensions that can be counterproductive, especially in the workplace. Various strategies can be used to easily resolve conflicts, more commonly known as conflict management.
What is conflict management?
Generally speaking, conflict occurs when two (or more) parties disagree. Each party seeks to defend its opinion without accepting the other’s party arguments. This often results in loud discussions that considerably disrupt the work climate and make harmonious collaboration impossible.
This is when conflict management comes in: to resolve conflicts within a team to prevent frustration from building up and leading to a tense atmosphere. Suppressing disputes immediately can be counterproductive. The parties involved should express them openly and try to reach an agreement.
When personal problems or insults are involved, conflicts can often only be resolved after the intervention of a third party who acts as an intermediary, also called the mediator.
Conflicts in the workplace
There are several types of conflicts. Let’s explore them togehther.
1. Relational conflicts
Relational conflict refers to the differences between ourselves and others concerning how we relate to each other. In private life, we can decide to avoid people with a different mindset than ours. This is not always possible in the workplace. Conflicts can easily arise, and usually are of a personal nature.
2. Thematic conflicts
Thematic conflicts are the result of differing opinions on a subject. Depending on the company, this may be about a new product or the resolution of a task. These conflicts are usually easier to resolve once each party has constructively expressed its opinion.
3. Communication conflicts
Often people literally talk past each other, leading to a misinterpretation of the other’s point of view. If this misinterpretation is not resolved, serious arguments can occur regularly.
4. Conflicts over the distribution of benefits
A larger office, a company car, or unequal salaries: conflicts can also arise when workers feel unfairly treated.
5. Role conflicts
In a company, employees take on different roles linked to different expectations. These expectations cannot always be met, for example, when a leadership role is assigned.
How does conflict management work?
The easiest way to resolve a conflict is to get in touch with the other party. A third party can be present as a mediator, even if not necessary for minor and manageable conflicts. What is required is that both parties remain objective and calm during the resolution of the conflict. If a discussion starts angrily, it will often lead to nothing. It is advisable to continue the clarification discussion at another time.
The conflict management process is then divided into different phases, during which both parties can objectively express their point of view and thus work out a solution or a compromise.
1st phase: the opening and reflection phase
This phase is the first step towards resolving the conflict. Both parties must meet in a calm environment and maintain a positive frame of mind. Anger and blame should be avoided as they lead in the wrong direction.
Once the first contact is established, the opinions of both parties can be expressed objectively. Each party is invited to reflect on the aspects that led to the conflict.
Phase 2: Seeking dialog
Dialogue is essentially about actively listening to the other person without interrupting or talking. The other person’s opinion should not be judged because this can lead to further disagreements. It is better to filter out similar arguments to find common ground. Both parties can also explain how they felt during the discussion or perceived their counterpart’s statement. At this stage, it’s easy to determine whether the conflict was a misunderstanding.
Phase 3: Finding a solution
Once both parties have found many common arguments, they can start to resolve the conflict. Of course, this includes presenting the different opinions that ultimately led to the dispute, clearly and factually. However, instead of commenting negatively on the arguments, both parties should find a joint solution or compromise. The goal is to reach a result with which both parties agree.
Phase 4: Conclusion
In the concluding phase, both parties found an acceptable solution, the controversies are briefly recorded, and the conflict can be declared solved.
Conclusion: Conflict management can be a solution to disputes
Not everyone likes each other right away, and the workplace makes no difference. It is not unusual when two or more parties have different opinions, harming the working atmosphere and productivity. It is better to resolve these conflicts as quickly as possible. Conflict management can help solve the problem so that the discussion can be conducted factually and constructively.
Your Humanoo Team