Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Resolving conflicts at work

Conflicts are inevitable between people at any time but the ones at work place can have a negative effect on ones performance and health. Handling work conflict can take its toll on most of us. There are some better ways to cope up with such negative effects or conflicts themselves. Here we are trying to outline the ways and means of not only dealing with conflicts but also approaches to avoid them as much as possible.

Conflicts at workplace are often a common concern for managers and seniors. The manager’s job is not only to allocate work and give guidance but also to make the team work as a close unit.
To be able to avoid conflicts in the team, it is advisable to have pre-meetings with team members:

1. Speak with each member about project objectives, deadlines etc.
2. The roles of each team members and the leader of the team through specific phases of the project need to be clearly defined.

In case conflicts arise a manager need to find out,

1. need to be quick to find out the details from his team.
2. need to then take an action immediately.
This is not the time to comfort troubled subordinates, nor is it appropriate to threaten them. A middle ground would prove to be the best bet for an objective fact-finding mission.
3. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the troubled employee; begin by outlining the problem with clear, detailed facts ad examples.
4. Refer to previously documented objectives, illustrating how the current issue is specifically impacting those goals.
5. Find out if there are any barriers coming in the way of work. Try to remove them through training, intervention with other department, or by a re-evaluation of priorities based on the needs of the group.
There is a proper time to interfere in the event of a conflict. Before a manager says anything, it’s important to find out whether his involvement would help or hinder the situation. Stepping in to intervene between colleagues who are at odds with each other can be a touchy issue. Keep the following tips in mind:

A manager must make sure to come across as someone who is unbiased and open. He also needs to be a good listener and a creative problem solver. Above all, he must be trustworthy in the eyes of his team mates and discreet. Whether or not he can diffuse the conflict has a lot to do with how he is perceived by the two parties involved in the conflict. It would prove to be an advantage if the manager has the respect of the people involved.

Managing the conflict or differences is best done by understanding the conflict style because conflict can also be healthy and creative. The best thing is to handle it constructively.

Conflicts may arise between you and your boss, friend or partner or in people working with each other in close proximity for a long time and is common especially amongst those having the same goals but who disagree on the means of by which they can be achieved. Even a minor conflict can create tension, so it is important to know the root cause of it because often its magnitude is hugely out of proportion to the disagreement that caused it while sometimes the problem seems trivial but actually there may be some thing deep-rooted.

Today, work stress is a major problem that afflicts people. Basically, any argument can result in anger, anxiety and stress. These can then reflect upon overall health, giving rise to high blood pressure, headache or even depression. The sooner the differences are resolved the better. If one is not able to control his anger then h should seek the help through counseling.

When a disagreement occurs then one should not over react. If so then the ‘opponent’ will never consider the other person’s viewpoint. By not over reacting at least you will find some consideration from the opponent. There are people who can manage their differences well. Everybody can do it but for that one needs to understand the conflict style. If one is able to do this then it helps one to act differently as suggested by expert psychologists.

Recognize, which style you belong to and try and change. Conflict in work relationship is natural. Communication and compromise is the key here. Accusations are a big ‘no’. Do not let conflicts go out of hand.

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