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Any manager knows that conflict is something that is going to arise in any work place sometime or another. Any manager has to know how to deal with and overcome. Although when people hear the word conflict, they think that something bad may have happened, that is not necessary true. Conflict simply comes from differing viewpoints, because no two people are exactly alike, disagreement is quite normal between people. There are many different forms of conflicts, and can be within yourself when you are not living according to your values or it may arise when your values and perspective are threatened or discomfort from fear of the unknown.
As stated earlier, conflict is not necessarily bad. It can help raise and address problems that are needed to be corrected and the organization can benefit from that. It can help motivate employees to participate in the decision-making process, because sometimes debating over issues can lead to interesting facts that others may not of realized or may not of though was a important. Conflict can also help people learn how to recognize and benefit from their differences, because then they can understand where another co-worker is coming from. The only time conflict can be a bad things, is when it is poorly managed or not understood within the workplace, and the ‘obvious’ leads to violence.
Conflict can occur for many reasons in the workplace and some of the elements are poor communication between management and employees-most times this may arise when an employee does not interpret what the manager was saying, or tries to remember what it was the manager wanted done; the alignment or the amount of resources is insufficient-if a manager does not give enough resources for the employee to complete the project at hand, it can leave room for the organization’s competitors benefit; conflicting values or actions among managers and employees and poor leadership-if there are people that are in manager positions and do not have the right qualities to lead, that can reflect on the employees as well.
Managers can minimize conflict in the workplace by reviewing the job descriptions and getting employees input on them. By doing this, managers knows how the employee is reacting to their position and can add more tasks or find a position that may better suit the employee. He/she needs to intentionally build relationships with all their employees that they manage. This can be accomplished by meeting with each employee alone at least once a month, quarterly or as needed depending on the size or time factor.
Ask about the employee accomplishment, challenges and issues. Have employees do a written status report that include current issues, ideas, and evaluation on the management. Develop procedures for routine tasks and include input from the employees. Distribute a copy of the procedures to each employee and ask them to review it and make sure that everyone is on an agreement on the reports. Insure that each employee is trained on all procedures they need to perform, and if anyone is in question on their position give them the proper resources that they may seek.
How a conflict is managed depends on the organization and the person standing in as the manager. Their skills on handling a situation will be weighed on they type of style they use to deal with such issues. In my current position, there is no managing administrative setting because we are so small. Everyone usually handles their workload and for the most part keeps to him or herself. Right now, we are in trust of everyone on doing his or her part. If there is a conflict between a situation or between employees whether it being a lack of communication or misplace of information, we all talk it out to find the issue. There is no real conflict between individuals. I am sure after our corporation grows, different managing styles will come into play, because like stated before not everyone is the same.
According to the assessment that I completed, it was determined that I used the collaboration approach to conflict management. I pretty much knew that I had this style of management, because of situations that have arise not only in past work environments, but groups that I have been in. I believe that information from both parties is crucial, when trying to handle a situation. It helps me determine who is at fault, or what information is still need to complete the task successfully. I also like to give positive feedback, to ensure that my employees understand that I do value not only their work, but them as well.
When you give positive feedback as often as possible, this will cut down on many misunderstanding. When a problem between two people occurs it should be confronted immediately. If this problem continues, it will only escalate and become bigger the longer it goes on. I also believe that you should allow the other person to finish talking before you open your mouth. When you interrupt the other person, you might miss an important point that they are trying to make, or make them feel as you are not really listening to what they are saying, but also it’s common courtesy. I believe in seeking clarification from the other person, rather than jumping to a conclusion, because I don’t want to go off thinking one thing and the person really meant something else. I also believe that a conflict between two people should be dealt with in private, and not become group involvement.
In conclusion, I think that the most important thing to remember when you are dealing with more than one person, you need to understand each other’s management styles as well as understanding that not everyone is the same. Conflict simply comes from differing viewpoints. Dealing with conflict as a manager takes special elements to mange “not” to or, conquer the situations that may arise between you, other people, or the organization.
Schermerhorn, Jr., J.P., Hunt, J.G., Osborn, R.N. Organizational
Behavior (7thEd.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002
The Organizational Behavior Skills Workbook, Conflict Management Styles,
Assessment 20, p. 356; University of Phoenix, (MGT-331 – E -Resource)