Conflict Resolution

Ride On Conflicts

Mehran Nejati asked:

When people think of the word conflict, they often think of wars or violence. However, conflict exists at all levels of society in all sorts of situations. It is easy to forget that we experience conflict every day of our lives. But, and this is a very important but, if you can’t manage and have it under your control, it might be disturbing to you and your business.

Conflict happens when two or more people or groups have, or think they have, incompatible goals.

Wherever there are choices to be made, differences may provide challenges or opportunities. One difficulty is the possibility that differences will result in increased contention. Supervisors may have to act as mediators and arbitrators from time to time. The advantage of mediation is maintaining responsibility for problem solving and conflict resolution at the level of those who own the challenge.

For any organization to be effective and efficient in achieving its goals, the people in the organization need to have a shared vision of what they are striving to achieve, as well as clear objectives for each team / department and individual. You also need ways of recognizing and resolving conflict amongst people, so that conflict does not become so serious that co-operation is impossible. All members of any organization need to have ways of keeping conflict to a minimum – and of solving problems caused by conflict, before conflict becomes a major obstacle to your work. This could happen to any organization, whether it is an NGO, a CBO, a political party, a business or a government. This includes your business too! So as a soloist, you need to be careful and take all the necessary steps to have conflict under control within your business. This requires using conflict management techniques.

Conflict management is the process of planning to avoid conflict where possible and organizing to resolve conflict where it does happen, as rapidly and smoothly as possible.

Here are some useful hints regarding conflict management for you:

1. Active Listening:

Just listening without any judgement, even if, and particularly if, you do not agree. This helps you to capture the essence of the feelings of the people you are talking to.

Consider an iceberg. As you know it is 80% under the water and we see only 20%. When people communicate interpersonally, the 20% represents their words, the 80% underneath, represents their real feelings.

A smart soloist listens carefully to his work force, and business partners without any prior judgement. This helps him understand their real feelings.

2. Reflective Listening:

Person A listens to Person B and reflects back, sometimes the exact words, what B has said. Then B says whether they feel heard or not. This, too, takes a lot of practice.

3. The use of “I” statements and “you” statements:

This is known as the power of speaking about your feelings and thoughts with no attack on the other. A “you” statement is perceived of as an attack and thus closes down the other person to really be willing to hear you and to engage in conflict resolution.

Again, this takes a lot of practice and coaching.

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