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Conflict management is the techniques and ideas developed to reduce the negative effects of conflict and enhance the positive output for all the parties that are involved in it. The techniques that are used depends upon the type of conflict that needs to be managed- researchers differentiate between the effective conflict, that is, rational and the substantive conflict, that is, performance, process or task-specific, as well as the inter-organizational conflict (between two or more businesses) and intra organizational conflict (within organization conflict).

Conflicts are virtually impossible to avoid; hence, strong conflict management skills are an advantage. It is human nature to disagree and these disagreements are in fact healthy when correctly approached. Elimination of conflict may have its own repercussions- there would not be any diversity of opinions and there will be no way to catch and rectify plans and policies that are flawed.

But poor communication or interpersonal tension can easily lead to simple disagreements to turn into resentment or worse. Conflicts that are allowed to grow will result in diminishing the productivity and damages staff morale. This is the reason why employers seek employees with skills so that they can manage and diffuse conflicts. Communication can help in clearly, empathetically, and patiently manage the conflicts and can lead to favorable outcomes keeping professional relationships strong.{" "}

Conflict Management Skills

The aim of the professionals should not be to avoid conflicts but to solve them in an effective manner. Individuals who are able to handle conflict in an optimistic and respectful manner have the chance for growth and learning in an organization.

Types of Conflict Management Skills

There are various types of conflict management skills. They are as follows:

  1. Communication

Petty conflicts can be avoided by simply providing clear and accurate written or verbal communication. For instance, a single lost email can lead to failed plans and fingers pointed. Assumptions about what others think, know or intend may worsen the situation and can cause resentment. There are people who merely fight so that they can be heard. Simply by being a good listener one can inspire trust and can help in resolving hurt feelings.

There are various necessary elements that an individual must possess so that conflicts can be managed. Some of them are given below:

  • Quickly addressing problems- As soon as a conflict is sensed it should be prevented and misunderstandings should be taken care of.
  • Formalizing agreements- There will be fewer conflicts on the account of some point being missing in the agreement if that is formalized.
  • Understanding reluctant participants- Mindset of others should always be kept in mind.
  • Active listening- An active listener is more important than a good speaker, as it makes the other person feel understood.
  • Leadership- A good leader will always look after any conflicts within the team and will address them properly.
  • Meditating- Mediating is known to calm a person. It can really help in channelizing the anger in a good direction.
  • Meeting with parties- It refers to meeting the other party and trying to understand their point of view.
  • Modeling reasonable dialogue- Any statement made should be reasonable.
  • Negotiating- It refers to finding a solution to the obstacle, that is, conflict.
  • Non-verbal communication- The actions should meet and coordinate with verbal communication.
  • Open dialogue- It should be incorporated as others’ views are of equal importance.
  • Suppressing conflict provoking behavior- Such behavior should be avoided so that it may not lead to conflicts.
  • Teaching positive behavior- There should be workshops in the organization to teach positive behavior.
  • Written communication- The instructions or orders in the written document should be clear and precise so that misunderstanding can be avoided.
  1. Emotional Intelligence

It refers to the ability to understand one’s own feelings and of the others as well, also to handle those feelings well. People with high emotional intelligence are good at identifying and meeting the needs of others while taking responsibility for their own needs and feelings. Few traits that are required for the same are as follows:

  • Being adaptable
  • Being analytical
  • Asserting feelings
  • Compromising
  • Showing Curiosity
  • Helping others
  • Forgiving transgressions
  • Identifying triggers
  • Recognizing improvements
  • Setting ground rules
  • Showing respect
  • Being motivated
  • Being optimistic
  • Modifying behavior
  • Being self-aware
  • Showing self-regulation
  1. Empathy

It refers to feeling what others feel. It is the ability to see a situation from someone else’s point of view. And to understand various aspects like their needs, motivations, and possible misunderstandings. This is critical to effective conflict management. Some individuals are naturally more empathetic than others, but it can be worked upon. Empathy can be augmented by an intellectual understanding of other person’s situation, as emotional empathy can at times lead to the creation of complicated scenarios. It is best applied in the workplace by combining with critical thinking, emotional intelligence and various other types of discernment.

There are aspects that are included in empathy. They are mentioned below:

  • Trust Building
  • Accountability
  • Asking for feedback
  • Showing Compassion
  • Embracing diversity and inclusion
  • Providing constructive feedback
  • Emotions managing
  • Handling difficult people
  • High emotional intelligence
  • Identification of non-verbal cues
  • Differences recognition
  • Understanding various distinct viewpoints
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Good self-control
  • Ability to identify problems
  • Ability to embrace others’ opinions
  1. Creative problem solving

If an individual does not have a solution for the underlying problem, understanding, and communication may be good but will not help effectively. Conflict generally happens because no one involved can come up with a solution that is workable hence, resolving a conflict majorly depends upon the creation of a solution. This makes problem-solving a prerequisite characteristic in the individuals by the employer. There are various problem-solving conflicts in the workplace. Some are given below:

  • Analyzing conflicts
  • Brainstorming solutions
  • Collaborating
  • Verbal communication
  • Creativity
  • Decision making
  • Convening meetings
  • Re-configuring the relationships
  • Designating sanctions
  • Problem-solving
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Sense of humor
  • Goal integration
  • Monitoring compliance
  • Fair resolution

There are various other conflict management skills for cover letters, resumes, job application and interviews. The skills required vary depending upon the job for which an individual applies. So the other various skills required are as follows:

  • Apologizing
  • Avoiding punishing
  • Being Calm
  • Being present
  • Impartiality
  • Intuitiveness
  • Ability to “Let things go”
  • Patience
  • Optimistic behavior
  • Respecting Differences
  • Stress management
  • Separating oneself
  • Ability to take on criticism
  • Unbiasedness

Benefits of Conflict Management

There are various advantages of conflict management in an organization. Some are given below:

  1. Builds Relationships

One of the most important benefits of conflict management is building up the relationships within an organization as it can help in achieving goals. As the individuals work through conflicts, they make progress towards achievement of goals. Being better at managing conflicts may help in the development of various skills that can be used according to the situation.

  1. Enhances Commitment

Another advantage of conflict management is that it enhances commitment between the conflict partners. Working through conflicts helps in uniting with others as they face the problem and deals with the challenges together. It goes from “me” to “us” in conflict management. This helps in enhancing the commitment of the parties.

  1. Generates New Insight

Conflict management can also lead to new insights. If every individual will agree all the time, there will be no reason to consider different perspectives or to even look for new ways to work in a situation or to handle it. But when individuals share different and unique opinions and ideas, they provide others with an opportunity to see the situations in a new light and with different perspectives. Generally, the best ideas are those which are a combination of a different point of views. They generally raise from conflicts as well as the creative problem solving that the conflict management needs to reach a solution.

Sometimes, individuals may get discouraged by the conflict management process. They are unable to see the need or desire to resolve conflict effectively. It takes a lot of time and energy to resolve a conflict or to find a solution. These key benefits to effective conflict management should always be reminded to the individuals in such a situation.{" "}

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