Man, they say, is a social animal. Throughout his life man is always interacting with others of his kind. He deals with his family members, schoolmates, friends, co workers etc. While dealing with other people can often be a pleasant experience, there are also to be conflicts and difference of opinions. These differences, small and unassuming as they seem can breed resentment and disaffection that can engender a conflict.
Conflicts range from subtle strivings for power as within a department to open hostile aggression. In an organization conflicts can consume vital resources and energy and can have a great demoralizing effect. People involved in a conflict can try to undermine each other’s efforts thereby affecting the company.
Every employee would have to deal with conflict many times in their career. The conflicts are usually between individuals (interpersonal) or between (departmental). In many cases, these conflicts are based on misconceptions, apprehensions etc. These conflicts should ideally be resolved in a manner that does not hurt anybody and is a gain for all concerned.
- Show respect for the other person’s ideas and opinions. Remember that his ideas can be genuine.
- Reassure him of your friendly intentions. Many times in companies, conflict situations are created when people wrongly feel threatened by our presence or performance.
- It is ideal to arrange a one-to-one meeting with the concerned person and discuss the issue.
- Be empathetic. Tell the other person that you understand his position and that you have respect for his views
- Appear to be accommodating and understand. Do not stick to your positions firmly.
- Talk in a friendly and positive manner. Never accuse the person directly.
- Talk to the person with an open mind. When the other person senses your warm and engaging attitude, he becomes less defensive and is more open to ideas on resolutions.
When conflicts arise in a meeting, they can be disruptive and stressful. You may feel threatened and tensed up to see someone disagreeing with you in public and questions your decision and ideas. It is necessary that things are taken up in the right perspective. Acknowledge that the person on the other side may have valid reasons. There are specific steps that can be taken to mitigate the situation and to avoid conflict.
- Out of the arguments of the other person, identify a point that you think is valid and base your points on that.
- You can tell the other person that you would prefer to discuss the matter with him in private later.
- Put forth your views. However, do not descend into debate and argument. Let the meeting progress to the next point of the agenda.
No matter where the conflict happens and what the conflict is about, it is important to realize that your opponent is a person similar to you except that he/she has a different opinion. Showing empathy and understanding goes a long way in defusing a volatile situation.