Conflicts may arise between employees in organizations mainly because of diversity and differences in opinion. People have different cultural backgrounds, beliefs and practices. If they will interact with each other face to face every work day, conflicts are bound to happen sooner or later. Based from my experience, I have not been involved with a direct conflict but I have witnessed one in the workplace. The conflict was about an issue about ethics that were argued by managers. They were trying to come up with solutions that will help prevent conflict by observing ethical management. Ethics in business must be followed by everyone so that the company will have a continuously good relationship with their customers as well as their stakeholders. An ethical company will last for a long time in the business world as trust and loyalty will be built over the years. The company will also attract more customers and gain new stakeholders because it will be known as an ethical business organization. Managing ethics and ethical management have one thing in common and that is to uphold the observance of ethics in the workplace without compromising the reputation of the company (Nahavandi 2006).
Effective communication is needed in conflict management and resolution. For communication to be effective, it must be a two way process. You have all the right methods like meetings, emails, feedback surveys and materials but there must be another way that the people under you want. Try to have a private conversation with them so that they can be really open and honest about their opinion on the matter. It is maybe through that way that they can express themselves better than in meetings where there are other people around.
In any given management situation, the solutions and ideas of individuals must be expressed so that communication can be effective. Managers must be aware of the basic techniques for effective communication. Communication is complex that is why there are some people who have a difficult time grasping the idea of effective communication. For communication to be meaningful, it takes expressing oneself on a personal level. Communication can be time-consuming and demanding for some. This is often the reason why good communication fails in some circumstances despite the available information on effective communication (Macklin, Pinnington & Campbell 2007).
When people talk to each other, the words that they choose will have a meaning for them. This meaning goes beyond their attempts in expressing their ideas and thoughts and getting the facts right. Some people make assumptions that the word that they have said means the same thing to everyone. This is not really the case since people come from different backgrounds.
One of the five conflict management styles can be used by the manager. These styles take the role of the supporter, avoider, gladiator, compromiser and political navigator (Gilley 2005). Supporters are more responsive to the concerns of people in conflict. This style does not focus on the outcome but the people themselves. Supporters do not spend much time in finding a solution to the problem. Supporters tend to forget their own interests and let the other party get what he or she wants. The avoiders respond little in conflicts. Avoiders want to smooth things over because they want to avoid conflicting issues. They neither pursue their own interests nor the interests of the other party. They would rather withdraw from the conflict or postpone its resolution. Gladiators are people who pursue their own interests at the expense of others. They do not respond to the concerns of other people and focus more on the results of the conflict. The compromisers are able to meet halfway in conflicts. Their goal is to find a mutually acceptable solution that will satisfy both parties in conflict. It is a style that employs a give-and-take approach. Political navigators are regarded as the individualists. They believe that they can get ahead by playing political games. Political navigators are results-oriented and highly responsive to the needs of other people (Gilley 2005).
Conflicts can be resolved using the four steps. The first step is open a discussion. The manager can ask the conflicting employees to bring the issue out in the open and discuss it honestly. The discussion can continue without the intention of an argument. The manager will have to remind the employees that attacking, judging and blaming the party will only create a defensive response that can become a hindrance to the success of the conflict resolution. The task of the manager is to be able to convince both parties to come into an agreement.
Before the beginning of the discussion, both parties may set the scene and explain what the he or she wants to say. The second step of conflict management is to give good information. Both parties must be able to state their own point of view. The language used by both parties must be in a neutral, objective and non-emotional tone so that they will be able to explain the effects of the conflict (Cole 2005). The opinion must be stated in an accurate manner. The third step is to gather good information. Both parties must listen to each other's point of view.
Empathy and listening skills are needed to ensure that the other party is hearing the whole story. Both parties must avoid taking the defensive tone and telling the other party what to do or what to say. These actions will only increase the intensity of the conflict. Both parties need not agree to what the other is saying. They can ask questions to make sure that points are understood well. The fourth step of conflict management is to solve the problem. When both parties have explained their side of the story and have acknowledged that there is a problem that should be resolved, it is time to find a solution.