Conflict management is an important subject in our management. We know that facing conflict within a team is almost inevitable.
Tensions then generate aggression and destroy the good atmosphere at work. The atmosphere is less serene and the employees are less efficient.
To avoid seeing conflict situations significantly deteriorate well-being at work, it is therefore essential to identify the sources of disagreement and to have the right tools to manage a conflict when it arises.
Three effective methods to manage conflicts:
- Training in the non-violent communication protocol
- The establishment of regular meetings to discuss and prevent conflicts
- Setting up meetings between people in conflict and colleagues, to allow mediation
These conflict management methods are inspired by liberated or “opal” companies. However, there are 3 other easy ways to know how to manage a conflict at work. They make it possible to act in the short term or in the long term depending on the types of conflict. In addition, they can involve the intervention of outsiders in order to be ever more effective.
How to manage a conflict at work?
- Use the hierarchical channel in conflict management:
With this method, conflicts are managed through the hierarchy. The hierarchical superior decides in an authoritarian and final manner. He is then made to side with one of the individuals. This method of conflict management is very effective in the short term.
On the other hand, in the long term, its positive effects are less. Indeed, the disagreement between the two parties is not always resolved the first time. The conflict situation may therefore become latent and erupt again later.
This method works especially in emergency situations where the fire must be extinguished immediately. Listening well will allow you to make the most appropriate decision. Once the emergency has passed, it might be interesting to revisit the conflict with the different parties.
- Manage conflicts through mediation:
This method requires the intervention of one or more people outside the conflict. There are two possibilities for mediation to manage crisis situations.
First, mediation with one or more people from the company. Thus, several meetings are organized. First, an internal mediator intervenes. Then, in a second step, several internal mediators can intervene. Thirdly, at the last meeting, the guarantor of the moral authority of the company intervenes.
Then there is mediation with an actor external to the company. He takes a completely new look at the conflict situation and makes it easier to step back. Its role is to guide the confrontation and provoke discussion in order to help resolve the conflict. The advantage of the intervention of an outside person is that we can choose a professional in the matter. It therefore intervenes more effectively.
- Defuse a conflict at work through negotiation:
In this method of conflict management, everyone will present their arguments during a confrontation. It will then be a matter of finding common ground on which to come to an agreement.
Using consensus to resolve conflicts can lead to a win-win outcome. In this case, the protagonists decide to choose a solution that suits them both. Either one of the two sides realizes that it was wrong and one of the two initial choices will be accepted. Either, a third choice appears, satisfying everyone. This method makes it possible to get out of conflicts in a safe and long-term way.
With the compromise in place, the impact can be half-win, half-lose. Indeed, faced with a conflict, each one makes efforts on his proposals by withdrawing the particularly conflicting ideas and by keeping the other ideas. Everyone can therefore move the project forward in a constructive manner according to their wishes. This method has the merit of satisfying, at least in part, all the protagonists. However, it can have the disadvantage of generating frustration, as some proposals are left out. In the more or less long term, the conflit may reappear.
We also have to imagine the case where the result can be a win-lose type. Namely, the views of one person outweigh the views of another. Indeed, only an employee will protect his interests. In this case, the outcome of the conflict is a one-way street which can generate latent disagreements on the part of the opposing party. This method of conflict management can only be effective in the short term.
Thus, conflict resolution can be done using 3 different methods, involving several actors:
- the manager: as a hierarchical superior, he has the capacity to prevent conflicts and to decide in the event of persistent disagreement;
- the internal mediator: he opposes the parties in a formal context in order to manage tensions and defuse situations;
- the external mediator: he brings a neutral perspective on the conflict to better manage the emotional aspect of the crisis.
In any case, before knowing how to manage conflicts at work, it is important to be able to anticipate them.
Prevention and management are the key words that define the role of a manager. For this, the use of active listening will be a real plus. Indeed, I think it is always essential, in the posture of the manager or the leader, to listen to what people in conflict have to say. In addition, understanding the emotions of our employees and knowing how to deal with them can help them.