Every environment that involves human relationships is subject to divergence. Therefore, conflict management is essential to ensure harmony. In the workplace, this strategy can even contribute to the development of companies.
Conflicts usually arise from the diversity of ideas. When conflict management is well managed, it is possible to create opportunities for innovation in the work environment and encourage the creative development of employees. In this article, you will find out what conflict management is, who is responsible for mediating these episodes, and the best way to deal with them.
What is conflict management?
Part of business management, conflict management is responsible for reconciling parties with opposing interests. The goal is always to achieve a win-win solution for all involved. Faced with such a delicate subject, it is important that the person responsible for mediating these problem situations has knowledge in people management, mediation techniques, and methodologies.
Larger companies rely on the support of professionals specialized in conflict management. This is because, in these organizations, these demands are more common and it is important to give them due attention. However, when this does not happen, it is common for conflicts within a company to be resolved by Human Resources (HR) professionals.
Another interesting strategy adopted by companies is to offer support and training on conflict management to all their employees. These trainings may involve workshops on non-violent communication, for example. This encourages increasingly healthy interpersonal relationships.
Why pay attention to conflict management
Having professionals specialized in conflict management ensures a more harmonious coexistence between the employees of an organization. Think of it this way: people are the main factor of a company. Without them, it is not possible to develop most of the activities and thus we do not reach goals or close deals. However, this also involves dealing with these people’s emotions, ideals, and ideals, which can lead to conflict.
Here we need to understand that not all differences within a company are due to personal values. However, personal conflicts represent a significant part of conflicts and a person who specializes in conflict management needs to keep this in mind.
The first step is to understand that disagreements in the work environment are not a big problem. Most of the time they are indicative that something needs to change and therefore it is essential to provide an environment in which all individuals feel safe to express their opinions and ideas. This demands a solid organizational culture.
Think that when we do not invest in managing conflicting ideals, the environment can become toxic and conducive to situations such as offenses, gossip, bullying, and even moral harassment. These situations deteriorate the organizational climate and can cost good employees.
Conflict management: how to put it into practice
Managing conflicts in an organization involve different steps and this can vary depending on the problem to be resolved. Problems usually follow the following flow until they are resolved:
- Avoidance: involves delaying the recognition of the problem, and avoiding the conflict itself. This situation is harmful because it hampers the possibility of resolution;
- Softening: Another escape akin to avoiding the problem involves denying the conflict through superficial appeasement;
- Enforcement: Enforcement is a very common situation within companies that are not prepared to manage conflicts. It uses an arbitrary solution, involving the power of a leadership imposing its opinion without taking into account those of others;
- Negotiate: this conflict management involves the balanced search for a solution, in which everyone involved gives in in some way so that the problem is resolved;
- Integrate: in this technique, the responsible professional seeks to create a welcoming environment for different points of view, always encouraging the exchange of ideas and arguments in order to reach a solution that is agreed upon. Here we go through the steps to avoid and soften once the problem is confronted.
Effective conflict management uses the last two options. They are the most efficient way to maintain healthy relationships in corporate environments. By working together in integration, those involved become protagonists and take responsibility for building a healthy work environment.
The main causes of conflict in organizations
Every company has its pains. However, most of the time the origin of conflict organizations is the same. They can be personal, interpersonal, or organizational. Understanding each of them is critical to choosing the right approach.
Personal conflicts are linked to the personal maladjustments of one or more employees. These maladjustments generate dissatisfaction and frustration that can cause problems such as a drop in productivity and even evolve into interpersonal conflict. This causes friction between other employees.
On the other hand, conflicts with an organizational origin do not involve employees’ personal principles. This means that the origin is linked to the company’s processes and routines. Here, some factors can influence these clashes:
In some situations, companies need to make decisions that aim to ensure their financial health and profitability. In these situations, there can be structural, behavioral and even technological changes that cause discontent among workers. Adaptation processes can be difficult for some people, especially when discontent can be linked to restructuring and even layoffs. These situations arouse fear and uncertainty.
Reducing costs in a company can also mean reducing resources. Thus, employees overloaded with long working hours end up being a consequence of this resource limitation. In addition, in times of crisis, managers may demand greater results, requesting that reduced teams achieve the same goals as a team with more employees. In this way, clashes with leaders can increase as relations have deteriorated.
The divergence between goals and objectives
Another common reason for organizational conflicts involves rivalries between departments or groups due to disagreement between goals and objectives. This can happen due to the misalignment of the company’s plans. The solution may be to avoid fragmenting these objectives between teams, considering a general plan that will guide the entire company.
Another common problem is the lack of clarity between tasks and expectations. This can instill a lot of insecurity in workers, increasing fear and irritability. The solution may be more transparent management, which allows everyone to understand that their purposes are compatible and that they always work towards a common goal.
predatory business culture
The culture of a company is very important and increasingly relevant when an employee decides to stay at his job or not. It describes how the company manages its business and contains information such as core beliefs, protocols, and values. In a healthy and welcoming work environment, there must be clear limits on what will or will not be tolerated.
In this way, it is possible to prevent toxic behaviors such as bullying, discrimination, and even physical and verbal aggression. A predatory corporate culture ends up being contaminated by these evils and motivates explosive and difficult conflicts to be mediated.
Benefits of conflict management in organizations
You have already seen why it is important to bet on conflict management and what are the main problems of an organization in this regard. However, conflict management also offers many benefits to companies. It allows the best use of different worldviews. The plurality of its employees must be encouraged and used whenever possible.
Diversity in companies
Different companies have been increasingly valued. This is because in addition to being a trend these days, this diversity has a great impact on the growth of companies. Consultancies such as McKinsey found that diverse companies are 14% more likely to outperform their competitors. However, in order to have a diverse company, it is necessary to encourage plurality and good coexistence among its employees, and this is possible through conflict management.
Stimulates a collaborative environment
Conflict management allows your employees to understand disagreements as something natural and what drives a team. Thus, it is possible for everyone to understand that it is possible to reconcile opinions and achieve great and innovative results.
More diverse teams that understand disagreements as something natural build more creative solutions. This is possible because everyone feels free to give different solutions to a problem.
An unpleasant workday and a hostile environment can trigger friction between employees and those high performers tend to leave places that do not practice conflict management as soon as they find a new opportunity. The opposite occurs when there is a joint construction of knowledge and a healthy work environment that allows for personal and professional growth.