How to manage conflict

How to manage conflict

Dealing with conflict can be as fun as playing in a traffic jam and just as stressful. Going against the conversational grain on a topic that you’re not even passionate about can put more gray hairs on your head than you’d care to see, which is why understanding conflict is so important. After all, the better you understand a challenge, the better prepared you are to overcome it.

People deal with conflicts in different ways: by shouting curses, by taking a defensive stance, or by losing control of bodily fluids. None of these expressions is ideal — especially if you’re over the age of 10 — as they only promote further conflict.

A study conducted by Kristin Behfar of the University of Darden reveals that, contrary to public opinion, it’s not the topic of conflict that’s the problem. Rather, it is the way we fight that perpetuates the confrontation. Think about it. When was the last time you got mad at someone who spoke to you in a very sweet and kind tone? Or look at it this way: Has anyone ever been mad at Mr. Rogers? No.

Here are four ways to improve the way you handle conflicts before the next unwanted verbal exchange:

1. Be direct, but not intense.

The next time you’re in a discussion that’s about to go sour, look for two things (here’s a visual). First, listen to the language used. Are people too direct or too passive? Too much frankness and perceived as rude, too little and passive-aggressive. Communication is important but being too expressive can be interpreted as threatening, and the last thing you want to explain to your boss is how you had to choke out your colleague because She didn’t agree with you (and if it was a Shethen you will haveplotexplanations do).

Second, assess the level of intensity associated with the discussion. Are people downright rude, overly joking, or disrespectful? If the answer is yes, it is too intense.

Behfar claims to be “direct but not too intense. And when you validate your venting colleague’s feelings of hurt and anger, know that you may be doing a disservice.”

2. Know the culture.

Just as language means different meanings in different contexts, so too does behavior. For example, many Asian cultures find face-to-face rude. The same goes for the perception of conflict between a man and a woman. A man who is “too” direct with a woman can be seen as a tyrant, while a woman can be seen as a bulldog.

The most important thing: to know the surrounding environment and the personalities involved.

3. Be consistent.

Nothing Sheds reliability faster than inconsistency. Trust is built when words and actions mirror each other in a consistent way. Integrity is establiShed by doing the “right thing” in the absence of accountability — consistently. No matter what you do, or don’t do, consistency is key, and it’s paramount to building reliable behaviors.

4. Ask questions.

Nobody likes to hear the same voice all the time (this is coherence thenit is not? fresh). Also, if that voice is always in conversation rather than listening mode, hearing it (again) can quickly act as a social deterrent. However, by asking powerful questions, you extend your influence into two spheres.

First, you adopt an attitude of humility by standing in front of the recipient and playing with the other person’s ego. After all, the one topic people love to talk about the most is themselves. Second, instead of a voice attack methodology, now you can counterattack by listening, thus arousing more curiosity in the other person and offering yourself as a credible source of enlightenment. Socrates would be proud.

Finally, remember that a conflict can be healthy, even in cases of indecency. Dealing with conflict actually creates trust, because the fear of conflict often doesn’t know how the other person will react. Like everything, the more you do it, the better you become.

How to manage conflict

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A conflict is a struggle between people with different ideas, beliefs or goals. Conflict is inevitable in the organization. Working with different people who have different personalities and approaches to completing tasks ultimately leads to conflicts within the group. Learning to manage conflicts is essential for a team to operate effectively.

Conflict management

Conflict management involves implementing specific strategies to eliminate the negative aspects of conflict, increase the positive aspects of conflict, and increase efficiency and effectiveness in an organized environment. Rather than eliminating or avoiding misunderstandings, the goal of conflict management is to teach groups conflict resolution skills, how to manage conflicts, find self-awareness about types of conflict, and communicate effectively during a conflict with a team member. These skills help teams determine the success of the conflict.

There are many options for dealing with workplace conflicts. The most common causes of conflict are poor communication, lack of teamwork or clearly defined individual responsibilities, inadequate team structure and disputes over priorities. Conflict arises between individuals due to different communication styles, cultural origins and political and religious views. Conflict arises in groups due to disagreement between subgroups and conflict arises between groups due to competition or rivalry.


Conflict management involves the use of several conflict resolution strategies, including coercion, adaptation, avoidance, competition, compromise and cooperation. Coercion is the use of formal authority to satisfy one’s concern by overriding the other person’s concern. Adaptation is about letting the other person face their fears without worrying about them. Competition is where both people compete to satisfy her fears. Compromise is an attempt to resolve conflict by partially satisfying the concerns of both people. Cooperation is about understanding both concerns and working out a mutually satisfactory solution.

Conceptual skills

Conceptual skills obejmują uczenie się wszystkiego o konflikcie. Conflict managers need to understand conflict causes and theories to manage conflict. The manager must be able to understand why and when a conflict occurs and in which situations conflicts often occur. The conflict manager also needs to know the various tactics and strategies used to manage the conflict.

The ability to communicate

Conflict managers also need to have some basic communication skills: listening, summarizing and asking questions. Listening supports the speaker as he takes out his frustration. To summarize is to give the speaker a repetition of what has been said to show understanding. The purpose of the hearing is to encourage conflict resolution by asking open questions that lead both parties to find a solution to the dispute.

Conflicts can be as diverse as your role in the situation. In generale, hai bisogno di capacità standard di risoluzione dei conflitti come ascolto e comprensione, capacità di esprimere te stesso e i tuoi sentimenti, capacità di analizzare le situazioni con rispetto e comprensione. Empathy would also be helpful. Body language means a plot. Experience dealing with stress and anger. Many factors affect your ability to resolve conflict situations.

If you’re writing any research on the subject, look here for ideas and inspiration.

First of all, it is necessary to identify the differences between different types of conflicts. Conflicts can be interpersonal within one individual or interpersonal between two; there are also intra-group or inter-group conflicts. To separate the last two, let’s imagine the situation in the organization. The team is working on a product and struggling to keep some members productive. The misunderstanding that arises from and within this group is a conflict within the group. Disputes outside the team are conflicts between groups.

For each type, we should explain the right approach to resolving acute situations.

  1. Interpersonal within the unit

From a psychological point of view, each person sometimes suffers from internal doubts and confrontations. They can lead to global problems, so it’s best to avoid their progress. Personal analysis can eventually reduce anxiety levels by uncovering the true causes. La decisione migliore per prevenire conseguenze soggettive è consultare uno specialista o i propri cari. Also, people should avoid being hard on themselves.

  1. Interpersonal between two people

This type can occur at various scales. Therefore, a growing conflict is more likely to be prevented than in the long term. When it comes to interpersonal disputes, empathy and a change of perspective are true friends. The give and take strategy is the most preferred here.

The main advantage of intra-group conflicts is a reasonable number of opinions. By analyzing them, misunderstandings can disappear immediately.

Indeed, disputes between groups arise in almost all areas. These can be political conflicts, disputes over traditions, disagreements within the organization, etc. Due to the extent of the problem, it is more difficult to communicate with others. However, gradual resolution can uncover important misunderstandings and provide an understanding of conflict prevention.

In summary, the basic skills for conflict resolution are:

  1. The ability to see from a different perspective
  2. Empathy
  3. Give and take positions
  4. Deep analysis

Accept the conflict. Remember that conflict is natural and will happen in any relationship. Since conflict is inevitable, we must learn to manage it. A conflict is a sign of the need for change and an opportunity for development, new understanding and better communication. Conflict cannot be resolved unless it is referred to the appropriate person or persons.

Be a sedative. Whether you’re a polling forum for a friend or addressing your own conflict, your response to the conflict can increase or decrease the intensity of the problem. To calm down, take an objective or neutral point of view. Help plan how you will work with the other party to reach a solution.

Listen actively. Analyze how you are feeling, what the specific problem is and how it is affecting you. To do this, use the self-based instructions (see the formula below).

  • I feel (feeling stronger)
  • When (objective description of the behavior)
  • Why (specific impact or consequences)
  • I would like (what do you want a person to do in the future to prevent the problem)

Analyze the conflict. This will help clarify a specific problem. Some questions you might ask are:

  • What caused the conflict?
  • Who are you angry with?
  • What don’t you get, what do you want?
  • What are you afraid of losing?
  • Is your conflict / anger relevant or exaggerated?
  • How can your conflict be resolved?

Neutral language of the model. When people are in conflict, they use provocative language such as profanity, insults and exaggerations which aggravate the conflict. Change provocative language more objectively so that information is less emotionally burdened and more useful for future discussions.

Separate the person from the problem. See the problem as a specific behavior or set of circumstances rather than attributing negative feelings to the whole person. This approach makes the problem more manageable and hopeful than deciding you “can’t stand” this person any longer.

Work together. This requires that each person stop blaming and take responsibility for the problem. Commit to cooperate and listen to each other to resolve the conflict.

I agree, I disagree. Each person has a different point of view and rarely agrees on every detail. It’s not right. When you manage conflicts, the search for “truth” can trap you, not set you free. Consider, for example, the various testimonies of witnesses who see the same car accident. Truth is relative to the person’s point of view.

Focus on the future. In conflict, we tend to remember every single thing that ever bothered us about that person. Conflicted people need to vent the past, but they often reflect on the past. Often, the best way to take responsibility for a problem is to recognize that, whatever the past, a plan must be developed to resolve the current conflict and those that may arise in the future.

“Move previous elements”. Position is the desired outcome of the conflict. It is often called “I need a new roommate” or “You can’t live with this person”. The positions are non-negotiable and lead to a stalemate. To resolve the conflict, each person must “shift previous positions”.

Share your interests. To resolve interpersonal conflicts, all parties need to talk about their interests or why they underpin their positions. They must share their true interests and work together to find a solution that meets those interests. The common interests of students are to sleep, learn, have fun and relax in a comfortable atmosphere. Often their interests are more intangible, such as respect, belonging, friendship and fun. When people have different lifestyles, values ​​and agendas, the need to discuss their differences is central to conflict management. You must develop a balanced plan of give and take that satisfies everyone’s interests.

Be creative. Finding a satisfactory solution to a problem requires creativity and hard work. Be careful not to give up just to avoid conflict or maintain harmony. Agreements reached too early usually don’t last long. Generate silly options to start thinking outside the box about original articles.

Be specific. When the troubleshooting is very specific. For example, if you’re using a roommate agreement to facilitate a discussion, make sure everyone fully understands each point written down. Explain ambiguous terms that each person might interpret differently.

Maintain confidentiality. Encourage others who are in conflict to come into direct contact with the person they are in conflict with. Avoiding conflict and letting off steam with others escalates the conflict and fuels the gossip mill. If rumors are already part of the conflict, encourage them to devise a plan to end the gossip. Do your part to quell the rumors.

Last November Philippe, a 33-year-old French banker, left Paris to take on a new challenge in London. He believed that a new job at a fast growing UK investment bank would provide him with valuable international experience and develop new skills. A higher salary and bonus was also a draw. A year later, Philippe has a different opinion […]

Last November Philippe, a 33-year-old French banker, left Paris to take on a new challenge in London. He believed that a new job at a fast growing UK investment bank would provide him with valuable international experience and develop new skills. A higher salary and bonus was also a draw. A year later, Philippe has a different opinion […]

Last November Philippe, a 33-year-old French banker, left Paris to take on a new challenge in London. He believed that a new job at a fast growing UK investment bank would provide him with valuable international experience and develop new skills. A higher salary and bonus was also a draw.

A year later, Philippe has a different view of his movement. When I met him last week, he explained that the year had been a disaster and that his job was at stake as the staff had made formal complaints about his management style of him. It was difficult for him to adapt to the new role, but he didn’t realize that his style created such a conflict in his team.

Philippe felt he was acting correctly, but his colleagues and team members felt he was inconsistent, favoring some members of his team and undermining others. His supervisor recommended coaching to help him improve communication skills, understand culture and develop human skills. Philippe agreed to coach but felt saddened that the bank had not done more to prepare him for his role by coaching and presenting him correctly. The main problem, he said, was the bank’s matrix structure and its focus on profit-making, which encouraged managers to fight for territory and resources rather than building teams and developing people. In short, the bank has deliberately created a culture of conflict, not cooperation.

Of course, both sides are right. Philippe must change, as well as the environment in which he operates. I am often asked to work with people who are in a conflict situation, but the organization rarely asks for feedback on why the conflict has occurred and what they can do to prevent it. In fact, little is being done at the organizational level to alleviate conflict.

Organizational conflict emerges as a key workplace problem between the people I train. They tell me they lack the will and / or the ability to deal with conflict and have many theories as to why it happens and what happens when it takes root. Konflikt w zespole lub dziale może szybko się rozprzestrzenić, od bycia niepożądaną rozrywką, po zniszczyć relacje, obniżyć produktywność i morale, a w skrajnych przypadkach doprowadzić do absencji, sabotażu, sporów sądowych, a nawet strajków.

So why do so many people experience conflicts at work? There are two key factors.

First, the matrix structure adopted by many organizations has led to unclear reporting rules, increased competition for resources and attention, and general confusion as managers struggle to develop an appropriate management style.

Second, globalization has brought about changes and restructuring, making companies more flexible. There has been rapid growth in virtual teams where people of different backgrounds and cultures work across vast regions and time zones. Email and electronic communication are the most practical ways to make contact, but they can be anonymous and confusing.

In addition to matrix management and globalization styles, there are many other sources of conflict, including:

  • Different cultures and hypotheses
  • Different values, opinions and beliefs
  • Not sensitive to race, gender, age, class, education and ability
  • Poor people’s skills, especially communication skills
  • Unstable and rapidly changing jobs
  • Resource limitations, physical and mental

So what are some ways to deal with the conflict? How can managers make sure it doesn’t get out of control? According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Instrument, there are five key styles of conflict management:

  • Extortion: The use of formal authority or power to satisfy your fears regardless of the other party’s fears
  • Favor: Allowing the other party to satisfy their fears while neglecting their own
  • Avoidance: Pay no attention to a conflict and take no action to resolve it
  • Compromise – an attempt to resolve a conflict by finding a solution that is partially satisfactory for both parties, but completely satisfactory for neither.
  • Collaboration: Working with the other party to understand their concerns in order to find a mutually satisfactory solution

Another way to view conflict is to determine the relative importance of the problem and consider the extent to which priorities, principles, relationships, or values ​​are at stake. Power is also important – how much power do you have over the other person?

As a general rule, I would suggest that collaboration is a way to tackle big problems, although sometimes application can be appropriate if time is the issue. For moderately important issues, compromising can lead to quick solutions but it doesn’t satisfy either side, nor does it foster innovation, so collaboration is probably better. Adaptation is the best approach to dealing with unimportant problems as it leads to a quick solution without straining the relationship.

Let’s not forget that conflict has a positive side: it can foster collaboration, improve productivity, foster creativity and innovation, and build deeper relationships. As Jim Collins wrote From good to great“All companies, from good to large, tended to engage in intense dialogue. Phrases like ‘loud debate’, ‘heated discussions’ and ‘healthy conflict’ peppered the articles and transcripts from all companies.” The more experienced managers deal with differences and change without creating or engaging in conflict, the greater the success of their teams and companies.

Are you in conflict at work? What are the roots of this conflict? Ritieni che tu, il tuo supervisore o i tuoi colleghi vi stiate occupando in modo efficace? If not, what are your suggestions?

How to manage conflict

Westend61 / Getty Images

Many people turn in the opposite direction when they perceive a conflict in the workplace. But if you’re a manager that’s a mistake. Conflict can be healthy or unhealthy, but it deserves your attention either way.

A healthy conflict centers around disagreements about tasks or work activities. It can be used and facilitated for profit.

An unhealthy conflict is a personal one. It must be extinguiShed immediately or it jeopardizes the work environment.

5 Styles of Conflict management:

Research by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in the 1970s led to the identification of five conflict styles and the development of a widely used self-assessment called the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument or TKI.

Their work has suggested that we all have a preferred way of dealing with conflict that serves us well in some situations, but not all. The key to success is to develop a flexible toolkit for conflict management approaches and use the one that best fits your situation.

The more comfortable you are with each conflict management, the more effective you will be.


In a collaborative approach, the manager works with the people involved to develop a win-win solution. The focus on finding a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

This style is suitable when:

  • The situation is not urgent
  • There is an important decision to make
  • Conflict involves many people or many people in teams
  • Previous attempts to resolve the conflict have failed

This style is not suitable when:

  • The decision should be made urgently
  • The case is trivial for all involved

To compete

Thanks to a competitive approach, the person with the strongest position wins. This style is often perceived as aggressive and can create the feeling of being used by others in a conflict.

However, this style is appropriate when:

  • The decision must be made quickly
  • An unpopular decision must be made
  • Someone is trying to take advantage of the situation

This style is not suitable when:

  • People are sensitive to this problem
  • The situation is not urgent
  • The registration fee is valid


Thanks to the compromise approach, each person gives up something that contributes to the resolution of the conflict.

This style is suitable when:

  • The decision must be made sooner rather than later
  • Resolving the conflict is more important than winning individually
  • Power between people in conflict is equal

This style is not suitable when:

  • There are a number of important needs to be met
  • The situation is extremely urgent
  • One person has more power than the other


A comprehensive style is one of the most passive methods of conflict resolution. One person gives up so the other person can get what she wants. As a rule, this style is not very effective, but it is appropriate for some scenarios:

  • Maintaining a relationship is more important than winning
  • The case is very important to a single person

This style is not suitable when:

  • It will not fix the problem permanently

To avoid

The final approach is to avoid conflict altogether. People who use this style tend to accept decisions without questioning, avoid confrontation, and delegate difficult decisions and tasks. To avoid is another passive approach that is typically not effective, but it has its uses.

This style is suitable when:

  • The thing is trivial
  • The conflict will soon be resolved

This style is not suitable when:

  • The case matters to you or your team
  • The conflict will get worse without attention

The bottom line

There is no right or wrong style of conflict resolution. Everyone has their own time and place. Learn how to use all five and you’ll be much more effective. As a manager, learn to suggest different approaches based on these five styles as you try to defuse a conflict.

How to manage conflictGuest blogger: Dr. Cathy Bolger

There are five key conflict management strategies: postponement, enforcement, adaptation, compromise, and exploration.

Most people have the most preferred and least preferred conflict management strategy. What are yours?

1. Deferral strategy is to postpone the discussion until later. During this time, it may be necessary to adopt one of the other four strategies for dealing with differences. Choose a deferral strategy when:

  • there are heightened emotions around problems
  • you don’t have all the information you need

2. Application strategy it is about doing what is necessary to support a non-negotiable point of view. Choose an application strategy when:

  • you have to be firm, for example in the case of an ethical violation
  • the decision has already been taken by the company’s management
  • Quick and decisive action is essential

3. The housing strategy involves going along with another’s viewpoint or desires. Sometimes it’s about giving up because you think it’s a good way to strengthen or maintain a relationship. Choose an accommodation strategy when:

  • there is an expert in your field who has more knowledge than you
  • the other side has strong ownership and is less important to you
  • stronger need to maintain a relationship

4. Compromise strategy it means that both parties agree to make small concessions so that their differences can be resolved. This is sometimes called dividing the difference. Choose a compromise strategy when:

  • you have to find a solution quickly
  • a temporary solution of a complex case is allowed

5During useExploration strategyboth sides work together to create and discover new ideas. Choose Exploration strategy when:

  • you need Win / Win resolution
  • everyone’s fears and feelings should be taken into consideration
  • the decision is so important that it requires the full commitment of everyone

All five strategies have their time and place. When choosing a conflict management strategy, consider the severity of the problem, the urgency of the problem, and the strength of the people involved.

Dr. Cathy Bolger is a San Diego-based educator, trainer, and author who provides professional and personal development to many businesses and individuals. Her most requested trainings include Presentation Skills, Meeting Management and Facilitation Skills, and Conflict management Skills. Contact her at cathy @ cathybolger. com or 619-294-2511.

Whether it’s a colleague, friend or family member, conflict is a natural and inevitable part of being human. They can occur due to differences of opinion and communication in terms of goals, strategies, money, politics, and more. While they can destroy relationships when they’re poorly managed, learning to manage conflict healthily can actually lead to stronger relationships. But first, let’s have a look at the two emotions that drive most conflicts: anger and frustration.

The neuroscience of anger

What exactly happens inside your brain when you’re angry with someone? Scientifically speaking, anger is defined as a reaction to a perceived threat to oneself or to others. This results in what scientists call “reactive aggression” – instead of being defensive, we go into attack mode.

While many areas of the brain are involved in anger—such as the hypothalamus and periaqueductal gray mediate—the main area that gets activated when we’re angry at someone is the amygdala. To visualize the amygdala, imagine two almond-shaped nerve groups just below the temples. The amygdala is involved in memory, decision making and, most importantly, in the case of anger, emotional responses such as fear, anxiety and aggression. In fact, many studies have shown that patients with PTSD who have an increased risk of rabies also had increased amygdala activity.

How to manage conflict

The amygdala is also the basic brain structure responsible for the fight or flight response, a physiological response that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event or threat to our survival.

Frustration and anger are deeply intertwined. Frustration happens when we keep on doing something in the expectation of a reward, but we don’t receive that reward. For example, constantly explaining something to someone, but not making them understand. Or try to understand a problem only to keep failing. When we feel frustrated for a long time, the frustration often turns into anger. So what to do with it?

Manage anger to deal with conflict

Many people try to repress their feelings when they’re angry with someone. This is actually the worst thing to do. Researchers stated that “experimental studies have reported that suppression leads to less linking from social interaction partners and to an increase in partners’ blood pressure levels.”

But lingering is also not good. Scientists have found that focusing on a negative emotion will actually make the experience of that emotion more intense. In addition, you will be using valuable cognitive energy that would probably be better used elsewhere. So, how to deal with conflicts in a healthy way?

"Non sei frustrato dagli eventi, sei frustrato dalle tue convinzioni".

Albert Ellis, American psychologist and founder of Rational-Emotional Behavior Therapy.

The key to manage conflict lies in what’s called reappraisal. Imagine if someone is rude to you. Maybe they’re raising their voice, not listening to what you have to say. You feel frustrated and then angry. You want to scream at him.

Now imagine he told you their dad died yesterday. How would you like to feel? You’d most likely feel compassion towards them. You’d understand why they are behaving this way. Reappraisal consists in analysing your triggers and reframing your anger to think: “It’s not about me. They’re having a bad day. “

In the reevaluation experiment, participants were shown an image of people crying in front of a church, which obviously made them feel sad. They were then asked to imagine that the scene was a wedding and the people in the photo were actually crying tears of joy.

As participants changed their assessment of the event, their emotional response changed. The scientists scanned their brains and found that the chemical reactions in their brains had also changed. As the lead researcher explained, “Our emotional responses ultimately stem from our judgments about the world, and if we can change those judgments, we change our emotional responses.”

Conflict management strategy

Once you’ve reassessed and calmed down, you can apply simple conflict management strategies to alleviate the situation.

  1. Be constructive. Clearly show the other person that you want to resolve the conflict. Say: “I’d like to solve it together.” Be honest with yourself and try to be as clear as possible about why you think the conflict arose in the first place.
  2. Show me that you care. Show how much you care about the other person. Showing sensitivity is a powerful way to connect with someone on a deeper level. In the end, both of you are people struggling to communicate with each other. Showing that you care can go a long way in maintaining a constructive conversation.
  3. Ask questions.Don’t take anything for granted – try to really understand where the other person is coming from.
  4. Avoid blame. Instead of using the word “you”, say “I” to explain how you feel about the situation. A judgmental tone will only make things worse.
  5. Don’t be in a hurry. Don’t threaten an ultimatum. When it’s your turn to speak, slow down, pause, and reflect. It’s okay to take a break if one or both people are starting to feel angry again. Not all conflicts can be resolved with a short conversation. You can take a break by saying “I’m feeling too emotional right now, but I would love to talk about it again when I’m calmer.”

Not all conflicts can be resolved, but the problem-solving process can be less painful for both parties if they apply reevaluation and these five conflict management strategies. This means less frustration, less anger, and better relationships.

Find out which attitude is most likely to help you deal with conflicts at work.

The cost of workplace conflict can be very high. Although the conflict cannot be avoided, the approach to resolving it makes a difference. In this post, you will learn to recognize which attitudes and skills help you cope constructively with workplace conflicts.

Secondo il rapporto "Conflitto sul posto di lavoro e come le aziende possono usarlo per crescere", le seguenti statistiche mostrano quanto sia pervasivo il conflitto sul posto di lavoro:

  • 85% of employees face conflict at some level
  • 29 percent of employees look after it almost constantly
  • 34% of conflicts occur between frontline workers
  • 12% of employees say they often see conflicts between the senior team
  • 49 percent of conflict is a result of personality claShes and “warring egos”
  • 34% of conflicts are caused by stress in the workplace
  • 33% of conflicts are caused by a heavy workload
  • 27% of employees witnessed conflicts that led to personal attacks
  • 25% of employees saw the conflict cause illness or absence
  • 9% saw that a workplace conflict was causing a project to fail

Why is there a conflict in the workplace?

Conflict in the workplace is a shared experience.

Discriminatory practices, lousy performance reviews, customs dissatisfaction, personality claShes, all contribute to a challenging working environment.

It is not uncommon to hear employees complain about their boss’s management style. Or discover peer rivalry.

In short, the interdependent nature of teams and organizations, competitive if not conflicting goals and interests, and the perceived scarcity of resources can underlie workplace conflict.

Yet the presence of a conflict is not in itself a problem.

Two attitudes towards the conflict

What the outcome of a workplace conflict means is an attitude.

A pioneer in conflict resolution, the late social psychologist Morton Deutsch has identified two main attitudes we develop in the face of conflict.

I remember Professor Deutsch’s master class at Columbia University in the fall of 2000. Engaging in two hours of graduate students, he summed up his lifelong commitment to peace and conflict resolution.

He said that if we are to understand these two approaches to conflict and the impact they can have on an organization’s life, we have the key to making a significant impact in our hands.

When the conflict is about victory or defeat

Morton Deutch explained that one approach to conflict is competition. The conflicting parties perceive the conflict as a zero-sum game. To be a winner, you have to be a loser. For me to continue swimming, the other must sink.

Some of the characteristics of a competitive approach to conflict are:

  • Impaired communication
  • Obstruction
  • No help
  • Constant misunderstandings
  • The strength of one increases as the strength of the other decreases

This attitude favors a destructive model of conflict. This can lead to decreased performance and results.

A better way to deal with workplace conflicts

L’approccio opposto al conflitto è la cooperation.

It is an approach that recognizes the interdependence of relationships and identifies conflict as an opportunity to improve performance, communication and relationships.

Instead of a zero-sum game, conflict becomes a win-win opportunity. There is a common belief that it is better for everyone not to drown, but for everyone to swim instead.

When collaboration determines the approach to conflict, the following behavioral patterns are observed:

  • Effective communication
  • Utility
  • Confidence
  • Coordination of efforts
  • Mutual respect
  • Conflicting interests are defined as a common problem to be solved

Maintaining a collaborative approach is not easy in the face of conflict. It is easy to be defensive and fearful or aggressive and even angry when we perceive that our interests, our role and even our reputation are at stake.

Therefore, organizations are increasingly investing in solid conflict management and conflict coaching training.

The ability to maintain high performance in stressful circumstances cannot be left to improvisation and chance. The best players always exercise their mental strength in the most difficult moments.

A difference that makes a difference

When I work with clients or conduct leadership training, I always offer an invitation – what if we view conflict not as a problem to be solved, but as an invitation to personal and organizational development?

As long as we view conflict as a problem to be corrected, we operate at the same level where the conflict arose.

Instead, when we see conflict as an opportunity to be bigger and better, we face the challenge of elevating ourselves to a new quality of thinking, emotion, behavior; We encourage ourselves to develop further references and to update our values ​​and beliefs. Finally, we are encouraged to improve our image.

When we see opportunities for change and transformation in a conflict, we ultimately lift and broaden our identity.

In this way, we recognize that there is a future behind the conflict that wants to reveal itself. This means that there is a potential that wants to be expressed, a reality that wants to be generated.

In other words, conflict can be the most precious gift that comes to our personal lives and the lives of our organizations.