Tips for Managing Conflicts and Disagreements
In a work environment, it is normal, to some extent, for conflicts to occur. After all, employees generally have very different values and personalities. On the one hand, this difference can be enriching. On the other hand, the constant presence of friction can hinder corporate life.
Dealing with these differences is a complex task since it involves personal aspects, the organizational context, and several other variables. However, as soon as possible, managers must seek to resolve the conflict, as poorly resolved friction can bring numerous problems to the company. Fall in the quality of work, inefficiency in customer service, negative organizational climate, rivalries, and disputes are just examples.
What is conflict and conflict management?
Conflict management starts with the knowledge of the cause that causes them. In general, disagreements or misunderstandings in the workplace often come from:
- Poor communication: Different communication styles can lead to misunderstandings between employees or between the employee and the manager.
- Different values: the lack of acceptance and understanding of the different perceptions of reality or points of view is a conflict source.
- Different interests: Conflict occurs when individual workers focus exclusively on their personal goals, ignoring organizational goals, and the team’s well-being.
- Scarce resources: Too often, employees feel they have to compete for available resources to do their jobs. An environment characterized by scarce resources is a workplace where conflict reigns.
- Personality clashes: All work environments are made up of individuals with different personalities, and unless everyone understands and accepts the mutual approach to work and problem solving, conflicts will ensue.
- Poor performance: When one or more individuals within a work unit are not functioning at the normal performance level, conflict is inevitable.
All these sources of disagreement end up creating uncomfortable and tense situations that must be redirected by experts in the management of interpersonal conflicts, who will turn that potentially destructive energy into something positive. This experience will help everyone to grow, improve, and learn from their mistakes.
So, how to find good strategies for conflict management in the company? To that end, we have prepared a list of tips to help you deal correctly with conflict management in the workplace.
How to manage conflicts?
Different techniques help conflict management, although we highlight the following:
- Talk to the other person: If you are an active part in the conflict, or promote communication when solving the one that affects other colleagues. It is important to set a meeting time and place where differences can be calmly discussed, and a solution can be found without being interrupted.
- Focus on objective data and ignore any subjectivity: You have to start by looking for a solution and never make the differences bigger. Nor is it advisable to generalize.
- Listen carefully to the other party: Do not interrupt anyone’s speech and avoid disconnecting and preparing to react instead of focusing on others’ words. Rephrasing what the other person has said, once they finish speaking, is often successful in ensuring that the message has been understood correctly.
- Identify points of agreement and disagreement: Summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement and ask the other party if they agree with the assessment. Make the necessary adjustments until the terms of the conflict are defined.
- Prioritize areas of conflict: Not all issues are equally important to everyone, and, therefore, it is necessary to specify which areas of conflict are most important for each party.
- Develop a plan for working through each disagreement: Start by tackling the most important conflict and focus on the future. Future meetings can be arranged to continue the negotiations.
- Celebrate success: Look for opportunities to signal progress and complement the other person’s ideas and accomplishments.
What is conflict management?
There are some ways to deal with conflicts, some effective, others less so. After all, it ends up being even more complicated when one of the company’s members is a “difficult” person.
One of the reasons why a good conflict management capacity is associated with effectiveness is because it prevents future financial expenses related to the dissatisfaction of the conflicted individual in question.
Tips for dealing with conflict management in the workplace
Knowing how to manage conflicts, it is possible to bring benefits from situations that – at first sight – could lead a company to wear and tear. We will discuss more about the sectors in which conflicts tend to occur, and how management would work for each case.
1. Investigate deeper causes
It is very common for a small conflict to have some minor cause, linked to another factor. Therefore, it is very important to listen to all parties involved, seeking to extract the real reasons for the problem.
Listen carefully; without interruptions, warnings, or criticisms. Please take your time to intervene when you already have a general sense of the issue. Be aware of contradictions, similarities, and differences in point of view. With this, you will have more tools to understand the causes of the conflict.
2. Maintain accountability for conflicts
Accountability is a posture of commitment on the part of the professional. It is essential when conflicts arise in the enterprise since your position as a manager should be a facilitator, not a problem solver. Those who must find alternatives are the ones involved.
When you only offer conditions for effective dialogue to take place, you allow employees to access their internal resources to find ways out. This experience allows professionals to grow and have autonomy.
3. Encourage direct feedbacks
The great uniqueness of feedback is that it is intended to help others to develop. It is a return on some posture or the performance of tasks and can be both positive and negative. It is important to emphasize that feedback should always be made with a constructive proposal, intending to drive the other towards growth.
Direct feedbacks can help to both resolve and avoid team conflicts. Clear communication minimizes communication gaps, as the employee will be able to get in touch with the colleague’s ideas much more easily.
4. Try to resolve all issues
You certainly know the effects of a snowball. In the corporate context, the conflict accumulated over time, full of disagreements and misunderstandings, will eventually break out. It is important to be very careful with this type of problem.
For this, two strategies are important: the first is to solve the friction points from the beginning. Always watch your team and, if you notice that there is some disagreement or process that you think is going wrong, invite the team to talk. In this way, you prevent small differences from becoming major difficulties.
The second is to understand that it is important to unravel the conflict in front of a snowball until it is exhausted. Dialogue with colleagues and seek to resolve all points of difficulty, without leaving anything behind.
5. Allow professionals to take a break to calm down
Sometimes, employees cannot effectively talk about the issue because they are stressed and nervous about the problem. At this point, opening the opportunity for professionals to take a break and calm down may be a good idea.
Giving time for those involved to calm down does not mean that you are postponing the conflict’s resolution, but that you are looking for better conditions to work on the difficulty.
6. Invest in good communication
The deficit in communication affects the entire work process of a company. A piece of information transmitted can generate delays, bringing difficulties, and create misunderstandings between colleagues.
Developing good resources to exchange information in the company is essential for good conflict management. Invest in meetings, channels for data transmission, and technological resources. That way, you can avoid disagreements and solve problems that arise more easily.
7. Propose brainstorms
The brainstorm is a set of notes that start fragmented, but that gradually integrate. An excellent tool to help in the search for alternatives, the brainstorm can help understand the issues by providing an opening for new ideas. Thus, gradually, it will be possible to build solutions together with the team.
8. Know how to deal with rivalries in the company
The rivalry in a corporation undermines the organizational climate and makes it difficult to perform tasks. Sometimes the sources of conflict are small problems, minor misunderstandings, and communication difficulties.
For this reason, it is important to learn how to face friction by establishing a good dialogue between the team to assess the factors that generate hostility and competition. Invest in measures to optimize communication and establish the principle that the team’s relationship must be based on cooperation.
9. Use books and films to deal with conflict management
A good strategy for conflict management is to encourage the team to look for books and films on the topic. You can work on this content with the team, make team discussions, and organize moments to elaborate and understand the material. Take advantage of the wealth of cinema and literature materials to promote positive group discussions.
In addition to being an incentive for team unity and relaxation, this type of event can help professionals take care of their differences. Thus, you open space for ideas and doubts so that it is possible to develop awareness and change processes.
From the above discourse, one factor stands out when dealing with conflicts and misunderstanding in a corporate environment and that is communication. When there is a breakdown of communication between employees or even between employees and employers, there tends to be problems. However, following these tips we have highlighted above, we believe you can surmount this obstacle in your work environment.
Finally, it is important to emphasize that the manager must follow the proposed tips, always focusing on employees’ autonomy, acting only as a facilitator, and avoiding as much as possible the need for intervention by superiors in conflict management.