The Problem: How to Manage Conflict

No matter where life takes you, you’ll inevitably encounter conflict. Understanding how to resolve conflict is necessary both in life and in business. When people understand how to handle and resolve conflict, they are better suited to deal with the situation at hand.

Conflict can be constructive as long as it’s managed and dealt with directly and quickly. The first major challenge in conflict resolution is identifying the problem. There are many situations where different people with different goals and needs come into conflict. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing as long as it may be resolved effectively. In fact, conflict may lead to professional and personal growth. Resolution can only be achieved after all problems, current and resurfacing, are identified. The first step isn’t always an easy task, but it makes the difference between positive or negative outcome.

Benefits of Conflict Resolution

After a problem is identified, the next step in conflict resolution is to gain a better understanding of the situation. In a company setting, understanding what is causing problems can help those in charge fix the situation, promote an increase in productivity and aid in the ability to foresee future issues. If conflict isn’t handled effectively, results may cause further damage and lead your team or organization down a vicious path of negativity.

Disputes over goals can lead to personal dislike among coworkers, causing people to disengage from their work, waste talent and cause a destructive breakdown of good teamwork. It may sound like an obvious step, but determining the root cause of a problem helps those involved have a clear idea of what is wrong.

At times, individuals may see various but interlocking issues. Underlying interests, goals and needs cause people to perceive problems very differently. If a unanimous perception of problems cannot be reached, at least try to get all parties involved to pinpoint the main issues. All parties need to understand what others see as problems if everyone is going to feel satisfied with the resolution.

Understanding conflict leads to resolving disputes more effectively. Brainstorm, discuss, consider all possible solutions, remain open to other people’s ideas, assumptions and beliefs, focus on work issues and set aside personalities. As long as everyone is willing to listen carefully to all sides and explore possible solutions cooperatively, conflict may then be resolved effectively. Always remember to keep calm, apply patience and encourage respect.

Preparation is Key

Conflict is resolved effectively after both sides have found common ground, reviewed the facts, understood the position of the other and reached a mutually satisfactory solution. An online Master of Science Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Creighton University School of Law is an ideal first step to conflict resolution. Prepare yourself and learn to view conflict management and mediation through a wide lens while breaking down conflict issues, zeroing in on areas of shared interest and improving communication throughout an organization or business in order to reveal new vistas of opportunity.

Conflict plays a large role in the world. Resolution promotes constructive and positive discussion, prevents antagonism and dislike, and prevents situations from getting out of hand. When applied correctly, people’s conflict management skills mesh and teamwork conflict resolution surfaces. Implement different resolution styles to situations accordingly. Analyze the circumstance, and then decide which approach may be most appropriate.

When team members learn to see issues from different angles, it opens up new ways of thinking and promotes healthy team performance. Conflict can be beneficial to any company as it improves communication, motivates change, leads to new ideas, stimulates creativity, promotes individual and group growth, helps establish identities, resolves and identifies problems and promotes the overall function of a company, no matter the size.

Consequences of Unresolved Conflicts

Dysfunctional conflict, or unresolved conflict, can lead to significant problems within a company. Oftentimes these involve people who are unwilling to work together to solve the problem and in most scenarios, are personal. This type of conflict promotes a negative work environment for employees and may damage personal or professional relationships, or worst-case, send the business into a nosedive and limits business success.

Aggressive behavior, an increase in stress, hostility, low morale, waste of resources and a breakdown in group cohesion are just a few consequences of a lingering dysfunctional conflict. An employee, team or the entire business can suffer. In time, unresolved disputes and disagreements may hinder a company’s performance.

Conflict resolution skills are important. Your ability to identify a potential conflict before it arises and knowing how to effectively manage it will increase your chances of turning any dysfunctional conflict into a positive outcome. Be aware of interactions within an organization and watch for early warning signs that may lead to major conflict and cause business inefficiency. A Master of Science Degree in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from Creighton University School of Law will help prepare you for a successful career in conflict resolution and provide the necessary tools to help you successfully address and resolve conflict when it arises.