An organization is made up of a group of individuals. These people usually come from different cultures and backgrounds. The knowledge and skills that these people possess are usually different.
Thus, they tend to have different values, beliefs, goals, and objectives. However, since they work together, they need to develop a team spirit in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization as well as their personal goals and objectives (BURMA, n.d.).
However, achieving this in a normal working environment is difficult due to the presence of conflicts. A Conflict is a situation that arises when two or more team members disagree on an idea or a given interest (Anderson, 2012).
A conflict can have positive or negative impacts in an organization or a project. This however depends on its nature and the manner in which the management handles the situation.
It is thus the role of the management to come up with effective strategies of managing conflict in a working environment. Thus, as a project leader, understanding the nature of a conflict shall be the main strategy that I would employ in the process of resolving a conflict.
Having a clear understanding of the nature of conflict shall be essential in determining whether I should encourage or discourage it. If the conflict leads to an improvement in the operations of the project, I would encourage it.
This is because it such a conflict is beneficial to the organization. Additionally, such a conflict increases the level of performance of employees. On the other hand, I would discourage a conflict that results in a decline in the performance of an organization.
Conflicts of this nature tend to reduce the overall performance of employees, demoralize them, and bring about tension within employees.
This makes it harder for individuals employees to achieve their targets, goals, and objectives as well as achieving the goals and objectives of the project or the organization.
To have a clear understanding of the type of conflict that is present, one needs to look at several indicators of conflict. Examples of these indicators include:
- The character displayed by an individual
- Level of team work and cooperation
A careful examination of the above indicators in employees will give one an idea of whether there is conflict and whether this conflict is beneficial to an organization or the project.
Additionally, as a team leader, I would conduct further investigation on the issue. In this process, I would try to identify the specific responses of an individual in the process of a conflict. People are usually governed by their personalities, morals, and values (BURMA, n.d.).
These factors play a critical role in determining the response of an individual in the process of a conflict. These factors play a critical role in the responses that an individual displays in the course of a conflict.
An individual may choose to withdraw from the conflict. Such individuals usually do not want to get associated with the conflict despite the fact that their needs might be jeopardized.
An individual may decide to use force in the entire process. Such individuals usually aim at achieving their goals and objectives without caring about the impacts that this may have on other team members and the organization as a whole.
They also do not mind if people do not like them as long as they get things done their way. Other people try to maintain warm relationships with other team members.
Since they want to be liked by every team member, such individuals usually see conflicts as avenues of damaging the relationships that they have established at the workplace.
Other people use the compromising strategy to resolve a conflict. Here, they give out some of their needs in expectation that the other party will do the same in order to arrive at a neutral point.
Finally, other people may try to negotiate so that all the parties involved in the conflict benefit from the solution that is arrived at.
Conflict Management Process
The above responses form the basis of the strategies that can be used to resolve a conflict within a working environment.
Thus, one needs to have a clear understanding of the characteristics of the team members and the responses that they have in the process of a conflict in determining the strategy that he/she will use to resolve the issue at hand.
However, before choosing a specific strategy to implement, a team leader needs to have a clear understanding of the relationship that exists between the parties involved and their individual goals and objectives as well as the goals and objectives of the organization.
Additionally, the manager needs to determine whether the parties involved are willing to compromise on their views. Finally, he/she needs to determine the impact that the conflict has on the organization.
In the process of resolving a conflict, the mediator also needs to understand that the withdrawal strategy is not an effective conflict management strategy, as the problem at hand will continue to prevail.
The same results shall be arrived at if the mediator uses the forceful method. However, the smoothing and compromising strategies can only be effective if the parties involved have common needs, goals, and objectives.
In addition, these strategies are only effective in the short term. Thus, the most effective strategy that can be used to resolve a conflict is negotiation.
Once this has been established, the process of defining the conflict should commence. Here, the cause of the conflict and the parties involved are identified.
Each party is given the chance to explain the cause of the problem from their own perspective. This step is followed by the conflict mapping process.
This step is critical as it shows the needs and fears of the people who are involved in the conflict. The needs of the parties include their interests, goals, and objectives.
On the other hand, their worries include factors such as being fired, punishment, development of undesirable relationships and loss of respect.
Once all this has been done, the parties involved need to clearly the reasons of the conflict. This gives the mediator a deeper understanding of the conflict. The parties are also supposed to view the conflict from the other person’s point of view.
This makes them to understand how the other party is feeling. The parties are thus expected to come up with several options that they feel will solve the problem at hand. At this point, the mediator can assist in coming up with suitable resolution options.
Finally, the parties are expected to agree on the best option that can resolve their conflict. The mediator can also assist in this process to ensure that the option that is chosen is beneficial to both parties and has the interest of the organization/the project.
This will ensure that the decision that is arrived at is sustainable in the short run and in the long run.
Conflict Mediation Process
Negotiation is the main strategy that is used for conflict resolution. However, there are instances that the parties involved fail to come to an agreement in the process of negotiation.
In such a situation, the conflict at hand can only be solved via mediation. Mediation is the process through which a third party is included in the conflict resolution process (Moore, 1996).
In most cases, the third party has no authority to make a decision. However, there are instances where he/she may assist in the process of decision making the parties to arrive at a consensus.
Thus, as a team leader, I would advocate for mediation to be used as a conflict resolution strategy in an event where the conflict cannot be solved internally.
To ensure that the final decision that is arrived at is beneficial for both the parties involved and the organization, I would advocate the use of an independent mediator who will assist the parties involved to develop an agreement that is beneficial to the parties involved and the organization at large.
Before the mediation process commences, the parties involved must have confidence in the mediator. The mediator also needs to maintain a desirable relationship with the parties involved.
Once the process of mediation commences, the mediator needs to use a variety of skills and techniques to ensure that relevant information with regards to the case at hand is arrived at. This includes active listening, effective communication, and probing (Moore, 1996).
The mediator also needs to maintain a desirable environment and to put into consideration cultural and religious factors.
Once the factors that caused the conflict have been identified, the partied involved need to develop settlement options of which they are to agree on the best option that can be used to resolve the conflict.
Only in rare cases is the mediator required to assist in this process. However, the final decision that I agreed at should be beneficial to both parties and the organization at large.
Anderson, A. (2012). Positive & Negative Conflicts in the Workplace. Web.
BURMA (n.d.). Dealing with Conflict. Web.
Moore, C. (1996). The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.