5 Step – by - Step Ways to Deal with Conflicts (Guest Blog)
Conflict is just around us.
As cited by Henry Ongori, conflict is generally viewed as disagreement of interests or ideas (2009). Some say it is preventable while others claim its inevitability. However, more often than not, people are bound to deal with it – face to face. One can never hide from it. Running from it is like being trapped inside a circle and getting chased by your wildest enemy; you know what you are running from but you never know where you are heading to. It is endless and just pointless.
What’s left to do then? Stop and face it.
Whatever arguments you and your associates are facing or about to face, whoever is conflicted, whenever and wherever tension arises, here are the step-by-step ways to deal with it:
Step1: Identify the conflict
The very first measure is to know if a conflict is present. Just how can you possibly deal with it if you are not aware of its existence? You may not believe it but to tell you, not all are conscious of it. In his Paper Help Latent Conflict Stage, Eric Brahm (2003) declare that “a conflict may exist for long periods of time without actors being aware of them.” It is added that often, one side which is likely to be the more - privileged party is largely unconscious of the tensions while the less – privileged one may be aware of the situation and only consider it as “unjust”.
It can be you or others who are in the midst of a conflict. You can get to know a conflict is existent through its effects. Be attentive to your surroundings and perceive the situation. To help you notice signs of conflicts, here are the effects of it in accordance with a research done in Nigeria:
· Interference with the organization
· Lack of cooperation
· Conflict management skills
· Wasting of resources
· No productivity
· No cohesion
If you ever get to notice even just one of these effects, chances are conflicts are just around.
Step2: Be confident
At all cost, many people try avoid conflicts from happening but as it arises, some tend to blame one another which may result to a much bigger argument. That being said, be sure to gather enough confidence to face conflicts because yes, there’s more importance to confidence than what all has imagined.
Listed are some qualities associated with confident people as articulated by Jeff Haden:
· They take a stand
· They listen 10 times more than they speak
· They freely ask for help
· They do not put down other people
· They are not afraid to look silly
· They own their mistakes
Step3: Know its roots
Though dealing with confrontation can be of help, one must also ponder getting knowledge of conflict management. Conflict management, according to scholar Rahim, aims to enhance learning and group outcomes which include effectiveness or performance in an organizational setting. There is a possibility for a lone confrontation to heavily damage the relationship of the conflicted which is far from the desired result.
The next suggested measure to dealing with conflicts is to fully understand the possible roots of it. The following are the causes as identified by Community Door:
Conflicts may occur from misunderstanding of goals and conditions. It may be the result of different expectations, of distinct responsibilities and of differences in beliefs, values and priorities.
· Poor Communication
Lack of proper communication can also cause conflicts. It relies upon clear and concise understanding of messages being sent and received. To avoid this, it is relevant to always pay attention and stay focused when conversing.
· Lack of Planning
It is a sense of lack of direction and organization, especially during a crisis. It is important to always update and inform an involved person to every change that is happening.
· Frustration, stress and burnout
Stress, exhaustion and frustration are more likely to create irritability and may soon result to conflict. Always learn to observe and recognize signs of stress to people you are involved with. You may also want to anticipate factors causing stress which include threats of violence, lack of privacy, verbal abuse, untidy space, noise, harassment, continual crises, lack of ability to influence working environment, tension between acquaintances, lack of direction, criticism and the like.
Step4: Communication is the key
We all know how to communicate but we tend to forget its relevance. You may be underestimating the power of communication!
If we look back to causes of conflicts as mentioned above, we can see that poor communication is one given root. Let us try to imagine simple situations as these:
1. Your friend hand you a gift and is expecting a “thank you’ from you but he gets no response.
2. You are in a restaurant for almost an hour waiting for your mom to arrive. Suddenly, you received a message from her telling she cannot come.
3. Without your knowledge, your cohorts go for an out-of-town trip.
All these are communication – related possible conflicts. Reflecting back to all the conflicts I experienced and read about, I surely can say that most of those conflicts happen because of communication and guess what? Communication is also the answer!
Caroline Sweatt – Eldredge articulated in Psychology Today some strategies to initiating good communication during conflict, here are some:
· Calm yourself before bringing up a complaint.
· Talk about what you need instead of what you don’t.
· Be kind
Understanding the importance of proper and effective communication can lead to resolution of conflicts. An article Conflict in the Workplace sees open communication as means to which we can prevent, manage, and resolve a disagreement. One must consider communication as way to get coordinated to one another.
Step5: Use conflict/s to improve
The thing is conflict happens because there is a problem. Instead of pointing out every mistake behind the conflict, use it to otherwise build a better environment thus creating more satisfaction to your surroundings.
Despite unhealthy consequences brought by conflicts, it may possibly carry beneficial outcomes. A study Empirical Study of the Effect of Conflict on Organizational Performance in Nigeria has named some:
· Builds cooperation
· Organizational innovativeness and productivity
· Individual developments
· Improving quality decisions
· Conflict management skills
It is always better to find our strengths through our weaknesses. For sure, you will be more confident to dealing with conflicts the next time. Conflicts may seem to be unavoidable, however, we can always learn from it.
Patrick works as a contributor at essaytwist. He is a former editor of a small town newspaper publishing. He is an avid fan of social media, and runs his own page for writing enthusiasts for his college. With the rising clamor for healthy living, Patrick immersed himself with water sports.