Solving Employee Conflict at the workplace Management Due INTRODUCTION: Conflict is a broad concept whose process is initiated when a clash of interests or incompatibility occurs among parties. In organizations, a simple disagreement or difference of opinions, if unresolved, may intensify into avoidance, inability to work together, verbal assaults, and offense. This can be intensified to the extent of resentment and farewell from the organization. Hence, a quick resolution is recommended. If a conflict is resolved effectively, it can lead to positive outcomes like personal development and better performance at work.
It can result in knowledge enhancement in terms of achievement of goals, development of group cohesion and professional work effectiveness. STYLES OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION: The five prevailing conflict resolution styles (Levine 109-36) are as follows: Collaboration: It is the win-win situation where both the conflicting parties desire for a mutually benefit outcome. Both of them can be highly assertive but the approach takes everyone into regard. The favorable aspect of collaboration lies in the best outcome achieved through seeking various point of views. When all parties’ involvement will be encouraged, it will enhance their performance. Compromise: When each of the party in conflict seeks to relinquish something resulting in incomplete satisfaction of both; it is referred to as compromising.
This style can be helpful when other objectives are of higher importance than the conflict itself. For instance, if the boss has given a short project deadline and a conflict arises among the group members, the best potential solution is compromising that is partially satisfactory for everyone. Competition: When a person wants to satisfy his interests regardless of the other party in conflict, it is referred to as competition.
People in a powerful position in terms of rank, position or cogent capability can use this style favorably or unfavorably. In case of emergency or swift decision making, this approach can be of assistance. However, it can be misused by defending own interest selfishly. Accommodate: Placing other party’s interests above own interests in order to maintain the relationship is an example of accommodating a conflict. People of highly cooperative behavior tend to accommodate others’ needs. It is feasible when winning is not the objective. However, this approach is less likely to be true because it does not end up in best results. Avoid: Avoiding a conflict refers to a situation when a person attempts to ignore or suppress the conflict.
This style is appropriate when the avoiding person does not have the capability to solve the conflict, his loss is inevitable or the fight is on a petty matter. Evading a conflict is the most ineffective attitude to opt for because it can be associated with the weakness of the person to handle or solve the controversy. EIGHT STEPS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Dudley Weeks identified eight essential stages to deal with a conflict at the workplace (95-124). Self-awareness and care: It refers to a detailed understanding of self before exploring others.
The behavior, emotions and environment triggers the response to a situation. By taking good care of personal health and hygiene, a person will have sufficient energy to listen patiently, voice opinion and explore the conducts of other parties to handle different mind sets. Explain personal needs: There are three major needs that should be voiced in a case of conflict.
Substantive needs relate to the issue that must be resolved. Procedural refer to the process to satisfy substantive needs. Psychological needs address the relationships and concerns. If the preferences are communicated well, it will not hinder the creative ability of the parties. Explore a safer environment: The role of safe and private environment is very crucial in constructive negotiation. Sufficient time should be given to both the parties to communicate in a flexible manner. Be a good listener: The listening stance will help build a good rapport with the other party and help explore the reason behind their behavior.
Interruption must be avoided. To be an active listener, one should encourage others to speak first, be as clearheaded as possible and clarify the real problems in hand. Assert personal needs clearly: After listening to the other party concerns, one should state own requirements as clearly as possible. During the whole process, one needs to stay calm and assert needs along with listening. It is quite possible that the other party might get defensive in response but one must stand by his requirements, while respecting the other party. Flexible problem solving: The problem in hand must be identified with clarity before investigating the possible solutions.
One should be open to various approaches to problem solving and clear about the agenda. Patience to manage Deadlocks: Some problems don’t end up with immediate mutual solutions and a deadlock occurs where people cannot think of further solutions. One should stay focused and reinforce the requirements. Build workable agreement: The conversation should be concluded with areas of agreement which should be clear, documented and precise. Mutual consent should be taken to implement the plans and use them as a tool for effective learning in future. CONCLUSION: Keeping in view the individual differences among people, it is very essential to build respect and remain constructive even in a state of conflict.
Effective communication and thorough listening with empathy can provide an edge to develop an in depth understanding of the point of view of the other party in the conflict. Conflicts add to the extra pressure and stress at work which can impact individual as well as group performance. The more the controversy prolongs, the more the certainty that it would lead to a detrimental effect on the business productivity.
Top level executives can act as mentors for employee counseling to resolve minor conflicts because unresolved issues can backfire. Conflicts with constructive consequences can lead to individual and professional development, if handled commendably. CASE IN CONTEXT: Dissatisfied employees can end up in conflicts. For instance, if an employee is qualified enough to get promoted but the process gets procrastinated by the higher authorities or he observes another employee getting promoted who is less qualified; this may lead to demotivation and eventual negative notions about the company.
Salary raises and perquisites are the major reasons behind conflicts. If they are not clearly communicated then they become evident through the performance and behavior of the employee. In order to resolve such conflicts at workplace, management should take the responsibility of employee compensation and performance evaluation at regular intervals. If any employee is not satisfied then the officials should take a neutral approach in identifying the issue. The higher authorities should not be partial in their decisions. They should encourage the employee to voice his problems and come up with a win-win solution which is beneficial for the company as well as the employee.
Negotiation and collaboration can end up a conflict in a wise manner. If an employee is truly eligible to get a pay raise, he must communicate and stand by his issues or else the company management should patiently assert the criteria to get promoted with sound arguments to convince the employee. This approach will help the employee understand company’s position in a better way and help resolve the conflict with a positive consequence.
Each employee contributes to the progress of the company. Avoidance to the employee concerns or forcing company interests can worsen the scenario ending up in the loss of the employee. Compromise by either of the parties will not end up the conflict in an effective manner. The discussion should be concluded with a clear picture of areas of agreement which are workable and solve employee pay issues. So, it depends on the related people who will handle the conflict either constructively or destructively. REFERENCES: Weeks, Dudley. The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution.
Tarcher, 1994. Print. Levine, Stewart. Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict into Collaboration. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2000. Print