1. Poor and inconsistent communication
2. The alignment or the amount of resources is insufficient. This can be;
- disagreement about “who does what”,
- stress from working with inadequate resources.
3. “Individual interaction”, including differing values or actions between managers and employees;
- Strong personal styles can conflict,
- We often don’t like in others what we don’t like in ourselves.
4. Management problems, including inconsistent, absent, too-strong or ignorant management (at any level in the organisation), this can be seen by;
- An avoidance to conflict by “passing the buck” with little follow-through on decisions,
- Employees continue to see the same continued issues occur in the workplace,
- Supervisors not taking the time to understand the jobs of their subordinates.
The Conflict Styles and what they mean.
Conflict is often more easily understood by looking at the consequences of the various behaviours at any moment in time.
These behaviours have been usefully categorised according style.
Each style is a way to meet an individual’s needs in a dispute but may impact other people in different ways.
- Competing is a style in which one’s own needs are supported over the requirements of others. It relies on an antagonistic style of communication, low regard for any relationship retention, and often uses intimidating power. Those using a competitive style tend to seek control over a discussion, in both content and ground rules. They inherently fear that loss of control will end in a solution that will fail to meet their needs. This style results in responses that can escalate levels of intimidation.
- Accommodating, this style opposes the competing style. Individuals’ using this style tend to be extremely tactful. They often allow the needs of the group to engulf their own, which may never be acknowledged, they believe that preserving the ‘relationship’ is seen as more important.
- Avoiding is a common response to the negative perception of conflict. “I’ll just ignore it and surely it will resolve itself or go away!” they say to themselves. But, generally, all that happens is that feelings get bottled up, views go unexpressed, and the conflict gnaws at us until it becomes too big to ignore. Conflicted feeling tend to grow and spread until they kill the relationship. Because personal needs and concerns go unexpressed, people are often confused, and left wondering what went wrong.
- Compromising is an approach to conflict where people gain and give in a series of trade-offs. While reasonable, compromise is commonly not satisfying. We each remain shaped by the perception of our needs and don’t necessarily understand the other side very well. We often have a lack of trust and avoid risk-taking involved in more cooperative behaviours.
- Collaborating is the sharing of individual needs and goals toward a common goal. Often called “win-win problem-solving,” collaboration requires direct and clear communication and collaboration in order to achieve a better solution than either individual could have achieved alone. It offers the chance for agreement, the combination of needs, and the potential to exceed the “list of possibilities” that previously limited our views of the conflict. It brings refreshed perspective, renewed energy, and ideas to resolve the dispute meaningfully.
By understanding each style and its consequences, you can aim to normalise the results of your behaviours in various situations.
If you use a competing style, we might force the others to accept ‘your’ solution– this acceptance may be accompanied by fear and resentment.
If you accommodate, the relationship may proceed smoothly, but you may build up frustrations that your needs are going unmet.
If you compromise, you may feel OK about the outcome, but still hold onto the resentment in the future.
If you collaborate, you may not gain a better solution than if you had compromised but you are more likely to feel better about your chances for future understanding and goodwill.
And if you avoid discussing a conflict at all, everyone remains oblivious about the real underlying issues and concerns, only to be dealing with them in the future.
Okay so we now know what conflict is, lets move on to actually resolving conflict next through Managing Conflict……….
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On the Table Consulting creates and implements a wide variety of communication and management consulting services, including organisational process development, executive and leadership development, and conflict resolution workshops.