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5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict

2 Major causes of conflict

  1. Communication: Conflict due to the lack of information, poor information, no information, or misinformation. Clear, concise, accurate, and timely communication of information will help to ease both the number and severity of conflicts.
  2. Emotions: Letting emotions drive decisions. Don't place emotional superiority ahead of achieving your mission.

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5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict

5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/02/22/5-keys-to-dealing-with-workplace-conflict/

forbes.com

4

Key Ideas

Leadership and conflict go hand-in-hand

Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. While you can try and avoid conflict (bad idea), you cannot escape conflict. 

The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader.

Unresolved conflict

 ... often results in loss of productivity, the stifling of creativity, and the creation of barriers to cooperation and collaboration.

Leaders who don’t deal with conflict will eventually watch their good talent walk out the door in search of a healthier and safer work environment.

2 Major causes of conflict

  1. Communication: Conflict due to the lack of information, poor information, no information, or misinformation. Clear, concise, accurate, and timely communication of information will help to ease both the number and severity of conflicts.
  2. Emotions: Letting emotions drive decisions. Don't place emotional superiority ahead of achieving your mission.

How to effectively handle conflicts

  1. Define Acceptable Behavior. Create a framework for decisioning, use a published delegation of authority statement, encourage sound business practices in collaboration, team building, leadership development, and talent management .
  2. Hit Conflict Head-on. Intervene pro-actively.
  3. Don't play favorites, don’t get involved in drama, and don’t tolerate manipulative, self-serving behavior.
  4. Understand the other’s motivations prior to weighing in. Take the action that will help others best achieve their goals.
  5. The Importance Factor. Avoid conflict for the sake of conflict.
  6. View Conflict as Opportunity. Divergent positions addressed properly can stimulate innovation and learning in ways like minds can't even imagine.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Interpersonal Issues

When it happens in the workplace, it can reduce productivity and make a dent in morale. 

It takes on the shape that one person, or a group of people, frustrates or hampers another person...

Types of Interpersonal Conflict
  • Policy Conflicts: disagreements about how to deal with a situation that affects both parties. 
  • Value Conflicts: they are typically pretty difficult to resolve because they are more ingrained.
  • Ego Conflicts: losing an argument, or being thought of as wrong, can actually damage a person’s self-esteem. This is like a power struggle.
What Causes Interpersonal Conflict
  • Frustration and stress
  • Misunderstandings
  • Lack of planning
  • Bad staff selection
  • Poor Communication

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Embrace conflict

Don’t avoid conflict or pretend nothing has happened as it usually will only get worse.

  • If you notice a conflict between employees, encourage them to work it out.
  • If a ...
Resolving conflict
  • Talk together. Each person should have adequate time to say what he or she believes the other party needs to hear. 
  • Listen carefully to gain understanding. Give your complete attention to the person who is talking without interrupting. 
  • Resolution is possible only when you find points of agreement
  • Guide the conversation without taking sides. 
  • Be quick to forgive. Every conflict needs a clear resolution that acknowledges hurt feelings and finds a solution that begins to mend them.

The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Classic ways to handle conflict
  • Conflict management assumes that conflict is a constant feature of group life. The idea is to keep it within boundaries, not to eliminate it.
  • Conflict resolution sees con...
Conflict Transformation

A way to view conflict not as a problem to be managed or resolved,  but as an opportunity to strengthen the common life of any group.

Steps of Conflict Transformation
  1. View conflict as opportunity. Learn to see conflict as a valuable look beneath the surface of your organization.
  2. Respect your adversary. Pride is the primary obstacle to transforming conflict. 
  3. Identify primary issues. Always look beyond the presenting issue to name the real problem.
  4. Envision a shared future. Begin with the question “How can we create something better for both of us?”
  5. Know when to quit. If the other party is committed to being contentious, you may need to walk away—or at least maintain a holding pattern. 
  6. Capture the learning. Capture—and communicate—the lessons from the current conflict so they help you navigate a future one.
Causes and dangers of work conflict
Causes and dangers of work conflict
  • Causes. Anything from competition, manipulative individuals, bruised egos, jealousy, blame games, unfair handling by superiors, to miscommunication and misunderstandings....
How to deal with conflict
  • Recognise, understand and deal with conflict – it will not resolve itself
  • Never be seen as subjective or having favourites
  • Be seen as fair and consistent
  • Always have a clearly defined code of conduct with an understanding that breaking this will not be tolerated
  • Know when to come down firmly and when to hold back
  • Deal with the behaviour and the situation without attacking the identity of the individual
Benefits of dealing with conflict
  • Higher staff morale
  • Better staff retention
  • Higher productivity
  • Financial gain
  • Healthy work environment
  • Effective team work
The spirit of inquiry

Amazing leaders are not interested in winning for their own ego. They understand that finding the truth benefits the whole team so everyone can win. 

Open your mind a...

Don't assume anything 

Without a face or a voice to convey emotion, written text can easily be misconstrued as being terse, sarcastic, snarky, or even mean. 

Always assume you don’t know the tone of any written communication you receive and openly inquire as to the emotions of your debate partner.

Stating the desired outcome

Many people enter into a debate ready to battle with only one side knowing the rules and purpose of engagement. 

Before beginning any debate or argument, discuss with the other party a purposeful outcome and define clear rules of engagement.

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Effective communication

... is imperative for every successful business. Poor communication inevitably causes misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts that hinder productivity and professi...

Effective Communication is vital in business
  • It helps to create effective brand messaging.  It determines how your brand is perceived and also builds trust with customers.
  • Customer service relies on good communication. "60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience."  Microsoft’s 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report.
  • It enables positive team relationships.  Effective communication helps to unite teams and create a safe environment to express themselves.
  • It helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It can help to defuse a potentially explosive dispute while bad communication can set it off.

Worst Communication Mistakes
  1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Communication Approach. Tailor the communication style to the intended audience.
  2. Speaking More and Listening Less. Listen to what is said, how it is said, and to what is not said.
  3. Assuming Instead of Asking More Questions.
  4. Using Negative Tone. Choose words carefully to eliminate negative reactions.
  5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations.

  6. Reacting, Not Responding.

  7. Not Keeping an Open Mind. Accept and respect differences, listen without judgment and consider all sides of an issue.

Conflict with bad coworkers

Having a bad coworker can really hamper your mood over the long haul, as well as your job performance. 

How you deal with that conflict could very well be the difference between h...

Accept and Acknowledge Personality Differences

Small tics will be magnified and personality differences lead to varying work styles, which can easily turn into conflict.

Conflict can even arise from something as simple as you desiring a quiet lunch period, while your coworkers like to socialize. These types of things are simply differences in how you work or socialize, and don’t necessarily make your coworkers bad.

Know the Pros and Cons of the Work Culture

Some work cultures are notoriously demanding and competitive, which can obviously lead to a lot of conflict.

In a sales environment where folks are competing for commissions and bonuses, it’s understandable that not everyone would be over-the-top friendly with each other. You should consider whether you might be misinterpreting behavior or overreacting to it.

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Empathy Mindset
  • Listening: Ask questions in with the goal to understand.
  • Appreciation: Show sincere appreciation and celebration of others’ contributions.
  • Self-Awareness: ...
Emotional Intelligence

Being aware of how your behavior affects others is at the heart of emotional intelligence.

This means building self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Effective Communication

Consider the following principles:

  • Intention: Know what you want to say and be clear about your objective. 
  • Organization: Take the time to organize your thoughts and deliver them in a straightforward way.
  • Framing: “I think, I feel” is much more effective than starting with “you,” which puts people on the defensive.
  • Affirmation:  Asking if the information makes sense may reveal a potential problem. 

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Great leaders are storytellers.
Great leaders are storytellers.

Stories are more than just tall tales or campfire yarns.

They include discussions of the enterprise in the future tense. They can inspire, instruct and invite.

How To Craft Great Stories: The Context

Establish the setting or scene.

Start with a transition to signify the story’s beginning before creating a realistic backdrop.

Ask yourself:
- What do I want my associates to feel?
- How can I nurture a sense of adventure, mystery, suspense, joy or invitation?
- Will my associates be able to visualize the scene I have in my mind?

How To Craft Great Stories: The Challenge

Create a dilemma with proper tension or dissonance with which associates can identify, then using one sentence, describe the challenge for each of the key characters.

Questions to help you create dissonance:

- How can I build a sense of concern, conflict, or suspense?

- Will my associates be able to visualize the challenge the same way I do?

- Will the dilemma create enough dissonance associates will desire a resolution?

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