How Understanding Conflict Management Will Help You Get Ahead
Getting ahead in your career has never been easy, and increasingly you need to master interpersonal skills if you want to rise to the top. These skills are not only essential to overcoming obstacles that are in your way, but also so that you can help others as well.
One of the most critical skills is conflict management. When you think about it, we witness conflicts almost every day. While this might not be a full-blown war, avoiding conflict when almost everyone is stressed to the breaking point is near impossible.
As such, understanding conflict management will help you get ahead – not only in your career but also in your personal life. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to approach this essential skill.
If conflicts are left unchecked, they can often snowball into hostile environments, which can get in the way of the collaboration needed to be successful in today’s job environment. It is even more critical now as COVID has forced many companies to go towards a hybrid work model with some people working on-site and other working from home.
As such, the need to communicate effectively is vital to working together. However, if conflicts get in the way, things can breakdown, and this can mean that nothing gets down. In an age where job security is nonexistent, this sort of decay can have disastrous results.
Luckily, there are several online courses you can turn to, such as conflict management by Kilmann Diagnostics. These courses will help you minimize the downsides of conflicts in the workplace by diffusing situations, building better teams, and even developing your “soft skill.” In doing so, it will give you the knowledge and the confidence to get ahead.
What Are the Benefits of Understanding Conflict Management?
When left unchecked, conflicts can break apart an organization from the inside. But if they are managed effectively, disputes can be an opportunity for learning and building stronger teams.
While most conflicts stem from minor misunderstandings between team members, there are times when conflict can be constructive. This can happen when the resolution helps to foster communication and understanding is used to address deficiencies in processes and procedures.
Also, positive conflicts mean that team members understand that sometimes it is ok to agree to disagree – if the conflict itself is harnessed as the motivation for change. However, this does not always happen, and the conflict itself can damage those involved and the organization.
As such, the benefit of using conflict resolution is that it not only helps individuals to overcome their differences, but it can be used to build stronger teams and, by extension, stronger organizations.
Why Do Most Organizations Fail at Conflict Management?
The answer is that most organizations are most focused on crisis management – basically running from fire to fire – rather than leadership. In doing so, they are failing to build leaders who can not only overcome the challenges of today but prepare the organization for the future.
To make matters worse, the shift towards the “gig” economy means that many companies have little incentive to invest in their people as most are nothing more than contractors. However, this can lead to challenges, especially when contractors class and managers are not armed with the skills needed to diffuse the situation.
The result is that most organizations will choose to either suppress conflicts or to pick sides. While certain behaviors are never acceptable, the reality is that most conflicts result from a low-level misunderstanding and, if adequately addressed early on, can be easily overcome.
The Steps for Conflict Resolution
To resolve conflicts, you want to need to be prepared. This starts by identifying the roots of disagreement, what is at stake, and the risk to the team and the individuals involved. From there, you want to observe how the situation is currently being addressed, as this may be making the problem worse.
After you have done this, you will want to foster an environment that will resolve the conflict. If you remember the ‘90s (or if you saw the reruns), this could be similar to the “airing of the grievances” from Seinfeld. Unlike the show, just make sure you keep things neutral as this will open the door for resolution rather than the session turning into a shouting match – we get enough of this on cable news already.
Also, you want to talk in terms of “I” rather than “you” and avoid exaggerations. Think about what you know about the people involved in the conflict and what you need to discuss. Try to remain focused on the central issues, as this will keep the conversation on track. Then remember to communicate clearly, but without taking sides.
Managing conflict is a skill that will help you get ahead, and as such, it is one you should study and practice. Mastering it will not only help you in professional life but also in your personal life as it will strengthen your relationships, improve your communication skills, and help you foster trust.