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Conflict management strategy and best practice

By Taslim Ahammad:

Wherever there are people, close by always will be conflict, in particular, conflict occurs very frequently at workplace. Conflict is simply an inevitable aspect of human relationships. There is just no way to live a conflict-free life. Hence, as soon as conflict begins to draws back productivity and gives way to more conflicts, then conflict management must need to come up with a resolution.

A conflict is the difference of ideas or opinions. Also, conflict is serious disagreement and argument about beliefs, ideas, or interests. Conflict management is an ability to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently. Conflict analysis or study is an initial stage of conflict management in which parties pursue to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics in their relationship. There are several common causes of conflict, such as, lack of mutual understanding, fragile communication skills, vague or unfair expectations, power plays and manipulations and so on. Conflict may be the reason of job stress, burnout and dissatisfaction, communication among individuals and groups may be reduced, climate of distrust and suspicion can be developed, association or connection may be damaged, job performance may be reduced, confrontation to change can increase and organizational commitment and royalty may be affected.

Benefits of conflict management: (i) Increased understanding: Going through the course of resolving conflict enlarges people’s awareness, and gives them an insight into how they can achieve their goals without undermining others (ii) Better group cohesion: When resolve conflict successfully, team members can develop stronger mutual respect, and an improved faith in their ability to work together. (iii) Improved self-knowledge: Conflict shoves individuals to examine their goals and expectations closely, helping them to understand the things that are most important to them, sharpening their focus, and increasing their success.

If conflict handled incorrectly: Team members becoming frustrated, opposition between team members and the development of a win-lose environment, increase stress levels and low morale, low levels of job satisfaction and increased staff turnover, annoyance between team members and the incapability to work together effectively, continuous anger between team members and outbursts of anger and fragile communication within the team and the development of a gossip culture.

Conflict management strategy: (i) Accommodating – An accommodating manager is one who collaborates to a high degree. This may be at the manager’s own expense and actually work against that manager’s own goals, objectives, and preferred outcomes. This tactic is active when the other person is the expert or has a better solution (ii) Conflict avoidance – Conflict avoidance is a method of act in response to conflict, which endeavors to avoid directly confronting the issue at hand. Methods of doing this can consist of changing the subject, putting off a discussion until later, or simply not bringing up the subject of contention. (iii) Win-Win (Collaborating) – Collaboration includes an attempt to work with the other individual to find a win-win solution to the problem in hand the one that most satisfies the concerns of both parties. The win-win approach gets conflict resolution as a prospect to come to a mutually favorable result. It comprises identifying the underlying concerns of the opponents and finding a substitute which meets each party’s concerns (iv) Competing – This is the win-lose approach. This approach may be appropriate for emergencies when time is of the essence (v) Compromising – This is called lose-lose situation where neither person nor manager really achieves what they want. This requires a reasonable level of assertiveness and assistance. It may be suitable for scenarios where you need a temporary solution or where both sides have similarly important goals (vi) Peace building – Peacebuilding is a procedure that facilitates the establishment of strong peace and tries to prevent the return of violence by addressing root causes and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political as well as economic makeover.

Conflict occurs frequently and often results in significant disruption and cost for individuals and organizations. Without manage it effectively, real and legitimate differences between people can quickly get out of control, which can result in an irretrievable breakdown in communication. It is possible for all live harmoniously despite conflicts as long as we know how to responsibly manage conflict.

Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh.