Teamwork skills - handling conflict
As a manager you will be responsible for handling conflict in your area.You must handle this situations quickly and effectively to keep them from escalating.As always, if you manage the environment at work well, you should be able to avoid many conflicts and you will be better prepared to handle those conflicts that do arise.
Conflict can be a number of different things.Some typical definitions of conflict include:
Difference of opinion with another.
Complaints about our performance.
Criticism of our behavior or attitude.
Negative evaluation of our performance.
Fighting with another.
Stress inducing event in which we are confronted in a negative way.
A test of our power.
A threat to our control.
Matching of wills.
An anger producing event.
A threat to our security.
Taking a risk.
Speaking out for our beliefs.
Risking the loss of acceptance.
A time when no one is communicating; whether people are angry silently or are yelling at one another.
Someone acting in direct opposition to our request.
Defending our rights when they are being ignored.
Conflict can be seen in a positive light too.This may be a perfect opportunity for growth as a team.However, you will need to act quickly in order to keep things from escalating and hurting the team's performance.
Some types of behavior will not be tolerated in the workplace.These behaviors may come to light as a conflict, but the behavior must be dealt with.For instance, racial or other types of discrimination will not be tolerated.A racial slur may be the cause of a conflict or it may be a result of a conflict.Make sure you do not tolerate these behaviors even when dealing in a conflict situation.
Steps that can be taken to handle conflict
Step 1: Recognize and clarify that a conflict exists.Determine what the issue is and who is involved.You will also want to find out as many details as possible like when does the conflict take place and for how long?Are there special circumstances that exist when the conflict is manifest?What are the hidden issues?
Step 2: Summarize research into a clear, detailed description of the conflict with its variables.At this point, if your company has a human resource department and depending on the conflict, you may want to brief them about the situation.They may have some excellent advice on how to handle the situation or they may need to become involved depending on the circumstances.Additionally, if things get out of hand, it is always good to have a `partner' involved that has been abreast of the situation the entire time.
Step 3: Research how to resolve the conflict.You may need to brainstorm the situation to find as many alternatives as possible.
Step 4: Narrow down the alternatives until you come to the top priority resolution in your mind.The best solution will hopefully respect the rights of all parties and have all parties feeling like winners.The healing process should now be able to begin and no one blamed.And the best solution will also provide finality to the situation and result in a better team atmosphere.
Step 5: Now you must deal directly with the parties involved and show them the steps they have gone through.Ask them if they agree with the work done so far or if they would like to do the steps on their own.
Step 6: All parties involved must now choose the best solution.You must have joint acceptance to the solution or the problem will not be resolved.
Step 7: Put the resolution into practice and have a timeline associated for completion.
Step 8: You will need to follow up to make sure the solution has been implemented and the desired results achieved.
If you find yourselves at an impasse, return to Step 1 and begin again. Occasionally professional help or that of an objective outsider might be necessary.
Remember these steps are designed for a situation that has time to be resolved.If you have a fist fight on the production floor, other steps will be necessary.
In summary, all employees are watching you as the manager when a conflict is handled.You must act quickly to provide a safe work environment for everybody, but if you follow the 8 steps you will hopefully be able to change a negative situation into a positive resolution for everybody.