Conflict is a normal, and even healthy, part of relationships. After all, people can‘t be expected to agree on everything all of the time. Under the surface of human beings lies a mosaic of hidden motivations and unexpressed emotions, so many times people do not communicate effectively and intentions become unclear. Everybody has a different personality and opinions and egos can lead to unhealthy competition.
Since relationship conflicts are inevitable, learning to deal with them in a healthy way is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship. But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth, which ultimately strengthens the bonds of communication and the relationship.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF CONFLICT:
• Differing Values
• Poor Communication
• Opposing Interests
• Weak Leadership
• Personality Conflicts
• Personal Problems
• Change Management
• High Stress Levels
It is important for conflict issues to be dealt with as soon as possible, because if they are swept under the carpet and ignored built-up resentment is usually an outcome. This creates edgy behavior and negative environments which has a detrimental effect on team spirit. Positivity gets affected, and as a result, team collaboration and performance declines.
Fortunately, there is a way to manage inevitable conflict and mitigate the damage. With just a little practice, managers and leaders can go a long way towards resolving conflicts by observing the following practices:
1. THE POWER OF LISTENING
Listening is the first place to begin and a place where most of us could improve with strengthening our listening capabilities. All parties involved in the dispute definitely have their own version, so everyone has to be given a voice and listened to. Once equal attention has been granted to all sides of the story, a better understanding of the nature of the conflict will become clear and win/win solutions are a lot easier to figure out.
2. ESTABLISH A COMMON GROUND
Before you start looking for solutions, it is advisable to arrange a meeting, in a neutral place, to gather all of the disputed parties. That way, each of them will get the opportunity to listen to the other party and be able to voice their side of
the story. This will help in expediting a solution to satisfy everyone concerned. It will also help to clarify any potential misunderstandings that may have lead to the conflict in the first place.
3. COMMUNICATION IS CRUCIAL
Working on communication skills and using open, transparent communication will avoid a lot of misunderstandings. Once a dispute has occurred it is important to uncover the underlying actions, words, emotions, motivations and influences that
led to the conflict in the first place. In actuality, there are no misunderstandings really, just a lack of communication!