Conflict is all around us, ranging from simple situations such as who left the dishes in the sink to major international disputes. There is a conflict theory that common stages are passed through as conflict develops. Here is one example:
When conflict reaches a crisis stage, a lot of time and effort is needed to get it resolved. Too often we avoid dealing with situations at the discomfort stage. We bury our feelings and don't discuss what is on our mind, hoping that the situation will resolve itself.
It is so much easier to communicate before resentment has started to grow. As a manager, be alert to conflict in its early stages and take steps to prevent it from escalating. This means being open to the other person's views, avoiding judgements and discussing until a resolution is reached for both parties.
There is a conflict theory that suggests mapping the issue can help in a complex situation, where many parties and interests are involved. This involves four stages:
If you map this as shown in the diagram, then you can look for areas where there is common agreement and areas which need to be given priority.
It will help you to build an action plan and move the conflict into a more productive phase.
It is important to respect and value differences, keep a broad perspective and recognise that this work may need a long timeframe.
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