Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:20

Dealing with Conflict Featured

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A conflict is a battle, a struggle, a fight, a discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, and the list is endless. Here you can see that we all face conflict of one kind or the other in our endeavour to survive.

There are actually a lot of ways to define conflict due to how it is used in many areas. Conflict pertains to the opposing ideas and actions of different entities, thus resulting in an antagonistic state. Conflict is an inevitable part of life. Each of us possesses our own opinions, ideas and sets of beliefs. We have our own ways of looking at things and we act according to what we think is proper. Hence, we often find ourselves in conflict in different scenarios; may it involve other individuals, groups of people, or a struggle within our own selves. Consequently, conflict influences our actions and decisions in one way or another.

Conflict refers to some form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of another group. Conflict can arise between members of the same group, known as intragroup conflict, or it can occur between members of two or more groups, and involve violence, interpersonal discord, and psychological tension, known as intergroup conflict.

There is personal conflict as well. Personal conflict takes many forms, some more serious than others. It stems from the long-term choices you make and decisions that you have to make in an instant. Knowing your character and integrity determines how you solve your conflict.

Conflict may seem to be a problem to some, but this isn’t how conflict should be perceived. On the other hand, it is an opportunity for growth and can be an effective means of opening up among groups or individuals. However, when conflict begins to draw back productivity and gives way to more conflicts, then conflict management would be needed to come up with a resolution.

In a relationship there will be conflict; this is not an indication that the relationship is not solid. Most things in life are not about the issues or event but more with our attitude on how we respond to these emotion wrecking events. It will wreck your emotion only if you allowed it to otherwise it has no power over you.

To get this straight know that conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything, all the time. A relationship without any form or nature of disagreement will be very scaring because the partners may be tolerating each other and one day there might be a spill over and at this stage it has gone worst for nobody saw it coming. Learning how to deal with conflict rather than avoiding it is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can cause great harm to a relationship, but when handled in a respectful, positive way, conflict provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between two people. By learning these skills for conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.

A little common sense and pre-emptive action can defuse conflicts before they get out of hand. These tips will help you manage and resolve touchy situations. One of the most important skills you can learn and develop is how to deal successfully with conflict. Successful individuals seem to have an inherent understanding of what causes conflicts and how to resolve them quickly. For others, however, it’s much harder. Remember the main factor here is conflict is inevitable but it is how you deal with it that matters. There will be countless numbers of conflicts in your life no matter how careful you are but you become victorious on the final outcome of the conflict. Your victory depends on you and not the conflict.

I have had conflict with certain customer which gave me the opportunity to improve more on our services. We take conflict as a form of feedback. There are lots of customers that don’t have the time to fill a feedback form and they engage into a war to express their dissatisfaction of our services and if we don’t listen to them we have shut an opportunity in reaching out to others that might be like them. No matter the nature of the conflict and its type you have the advantage, the ability and potential to turn it into an opportunity.

The reason most people are unable to cope and to deal with any kind of conflict is because they see it as a negative event. I have witnessed where a lady made a serious charge against a guy that mistakenly brush pass her breast. It was an accident. She knows it was an accident but he has been very nasty to her in the past so this was her opportunity to make him pay for all the hardship he has given to her. I had to intervene and make her reason not to fall to his standard. She agreed with me and called off the charges. I told him he owns her an apology but his ego won’t allow him to.

I have encountered customers that threaten and screamed to take legal action for something that is very unnecessarily not because they intended to but because they need our attention and once we give them the attention they apologise for their threats. It is not every conflict that requires a war. You must understand the nature of the conflict and deal with it in a positive and peaceful manner.

Here are tips on how you can deal with any conflict:

1.    You first need to understand the nature, type, the reason, the genesis and foundation of the conflict. There is no way it will be possible for you to deal with something you don’t understand. To apply the right medication you must understand the ailment. Conflict arises from differences, both large and small. It occurs whenever people disagree over their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires.

2.    You need to ask question and not just guess the reason there is a war. Poor communication can create conflicts. Don’t be in a hurry to conclude. Before you allow an escalation, ask questions. It won’t cause any loss of face, and may result in a quick resolution.

3.    Often, conflicts develop as a result of unmet expectations on one side. If the other party expected something they didn’t get or something that didn’t happen, the whole conversation can become negative and closed. If a conversation seems to be getting rocky, take a step back and review together with the other person to try to uncover what just occurred. You need to analyse the expectations and where they are over stated then you need to bring this to the attention of the other party and address their expectations in an honest manner.

4.    One of the main reasons for conflict among individuals is based on our difference in perspective. This happens most frequently when one is dealing with someone from another organization, background, or culture. It’s easy to believe that we all see things the same way and then get derailed unexpectedly.

5.    Your reaction should be calm, non-defensive, and respectful.

6.    You should have the readiness to forgive and forget, and to move past the conflict without holding resentments or anger

7.    To prove your maturity in conflict resolution you should exercise your ability to seek compromise and avoid punishing. Many times people dwell on revenge and are motivated by it so they never resolve the conflict.

8.    There is no perfect time to face a conflict because when you leave it under the bridge with time it gets spoiled and thrown away so there is no way at this stage to repair the relationship. A belief that facing conflict head on is the best thing for both sides is what you need.

9.    Conflict resolutions always start with one or both parties making an honest attempt at avoiding further escalation. This recognition, even if only by one of those involved, often causes a more objective review to occur. Take charge of the process by committing to reach a resolution. A powerful impact occurs when one person makes this statement. It can turn down the temperature immediately.

10.    Learn the value and the benefit of staying calm. Cooler heads prevail in even the most difficult conflicts. Whether you’re in a business or personal situation, you can take control of it by keeping cool. And when you’re maintaining your calm, it will be easier for others involved to get back to the task at hand.

When it comes to anticipating potential conflict, look for signs such as tension in the air, off handed comments, backstabbing, manipulation, a normally outspoken person is now quiet, a normally quiet person is now outspoken, facial expressions, and undermining.  In your team as a good team leader you will know when there is a war even when you are not told. It is better you resolve the issue and bring back the rhythm and harmony of your team otherwise your team will become less productive and this could affect your job as well as the manager.

Finally, conflict is not something anyone can avoid but we can control the final outcome by our attitude on how we respond to it.


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