The ability to manage conflict is undoubtedly one of the most
important skills a manager needs to possess A study of middle- and
top-level executives revealed that the manager spends approximately
20% of his or her time dealing with conflict. In most management
development programmes; conflict management was being more important
than decision making, leadership or communication.
DEALING WITH CONFLICT
Desire for something
Desired ideal state of future affairs
Universal necessity for survival
potential benefits to be gained by achieving goals
Conflict of interests
The actions taken by person A to achieve goals prevent, block or
interfere with the actions taken by person B to achieve goals
“Conflict is defined as perceived incompatible differences that result
in interference or opposition.”
The traditional view of conflict is that all conflict is bad and must
be avoided. but also that some conflict is absolutely necessary for an
ithin the organisation to perform effectively. We label this
isolationist view of conflict.
Human relations view is that conflict is a natural and inevitable
outcome in any organisation.
Interactionist view of conflict that some conflict is necessary for an
organisation to perform effectively. The interactionist view does not
propose that all conflicts are good. Rather some conflicts support the
goals of the organisation; these are functional conflicts of a
constructive form. However, some conflicts prevent an organisation
from achieving its goals; these are dysfunctional conflicts and are
Functional conflict supports the organisation’s goals.
Dysfunctional conflict can prevent an organisation from achieving its
When you become engaged in a conflict, two major concerns you have to
take into account are:
1. Achieving your goals. Each person has personal goals that he
or she wishes to achieve. You are in conflict. You are in conflict
because your goals conflict with other person’s goals. Your goal may
be placed on a continuum from being of little importance to you being
2. Maintaining a good relationship with the other person(s). Some
relationships are temporary while some are long term. Some long-term
relationships are vita...
... middle of paper ...
...ill encourage you to
find solutions to the tough problems too. Keep early discussions
informal. It’s always easier to “toughen up”
than “soften down
• Emphasise the relationship. If both parties are clear that a
continued good relationship is a desired outcome, then both will work
harder towards that end.
• Limit each discussion to a few issues. Otherwise the “mountain”
will look insurmountable.
• Keep a long-term view in mind. This helps keep things in
• Look for and foster flexibility and creativity. How can you both
get what you want? Don’t limit yourself by grasping the first solution
that suggest itself.
• Listen carefully and summarise frequently. Summarise the other’s
point of view, especially before
• Adopt a “problem-solving” approach. See the dispute as a problem
to be solved rather than a battle to be won.
• Test your assumptions. Bring your thoughts out into the open so
they can be verified. State clearly your position and your
understanding of the other’s position. Making assumptions about what
the person does or doesn’t know or want can be a recipe for going round
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