What kind of styles do managers use to solve conflicts at the workplace?
Conflict management is one of the most important and game-changing qualities of a good leader. A leader must analyze, understand, and find a solution to a conflict.
To find an organic solution to a conflict, it is necessary to understand five basic yet game-changing conflict management styles and ways to implement them in case such a situation presents itself.
What is Conflict Management?
The process of solving disputes in which negative outcomes are minimized and positive ones are maximized is called Conflict Management.
Conflict management is an essential part of leadership and a leader/manager should always be skilled enough to assess the situation of a conflict. We need to keep in mind that not every conflict is bad, some conflicts are healthy for the future and growth of the organization.
If the majority of the employees are challenging the structure of an organization, then it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are at fault. It can also mean that there is a genuine problem in the system that needs to be corrected. A conflict means that employees are comfortable enough to challenge and they have hope in the leader that their concerns are going to be addressed for the total betterment of the system.
The 5 Conflict Management Styles
As the name already suggests, this style of conflict management says that to resolve a conflict, you should be ready to let the other party win. This is applied in the situation where the issue at hand is not important enough to waste your precious time. Peace is considered as the main issue in this style and as long as peace prevails, nothing else is important enough to fight for.
It may sound discouraging to some, but accommodation proves to be one of the healthiest ways of conflict management and every good leader knows when the issue is worth giving time, and when it is not.
- Small issues are solved quickly and a lot of time can be saved from getting wasted.
- Gives the leader a good reputation and increases respect among employees.
- In some cases, the manager is looked upon as a weak leader and push-over.
- This technique can only be used to solve smaller and less important issues.
This style of conflict management suggests the leader reduce the conflict by turning a blind eye towards it. It also involves removing the parties that are promoting the conflict and evading the issue in some manner to solve the conflict quickly.
This can be a good conflict-solving strategy when the parties involved are too aggressive for a healthy debate or dialogue. In such a situation, a good leader separates the team members who are causing the conflict from the project, pushes the deadlines and ensures peace among the team members.
- When the team gets some time to cool down, in most cases the conflict is automatically resolved.
- Managers get a good reputation that they have trust in their employees and expect them to act like sensible and mature team members.
- If opted multiple times in a row, this style can create a bigger problem for the team.
- Overusing this style gives a bad image of the manager.
Compromising is the third and one of the most successful styles of solving a conflict. In this style, the leader looks to promote both the involved parties to look for a middle ground to resolve the conflict.
This style is often used when the team is working on a deadline and cannot afford to have a long-term conflict. It gives a solution that may or may not be perfect, but at the end of the day, it is still called a solution.
- Saves a lot of time and increases empathy and understanding in the team.
- Both parties feel heard and the manager is looked up to as a sensible and worthy person.
- If overused, this style gives the impression that the manager is not skilled enough to lead collaboration.
- In some cases, one of the two sides feels cheated and that can lead to bigger conflicts in the future.
Just the opposite of compromise, this style suggests that a conflict should be resolved by standing firm to your own beliefs and not giving up on the other party’s wants.
This style proves to be very beneficial in solving conflicts when there is a time crunch and the leader has no time to think and come up with a different solution. But, just like others, there is a dark side to this as well. There is a high chance that this lessens the productivity and morale of the team.
- It shows that a manager is a person of principles.
- Saves a lot of time.
- Can give the impression that the manager is authoritarian.
- Eliminating dissent may leave the team members feeling oppressed and cheated.
This style is the most satisfying for every party that is involved in the conflict. It gives long-term positive results and promotes the leader to consider everyone’s wants and needs. It is also the most peaceful of all the styles that we have discussed, as it promotes the involved parties to sit down and resolve the conflict like a good team.
It is often used to save a vital relationship in the team.
- Everyone goes home happy.
- A solid solution to the problem is found.
Every style that we have discussed in this article works, but at the same time comes with a consequence. Some of these are paired with side effects like a decrease in morale of the team, a decrease in productivity, and other aspects of the team.
One thing that a leader always should keep in mind in all these styles is that the problem of the table needs to be solved one day or another.
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