The Limits of Conflict Communication in the Team: Speech is not a panacea

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Communication is considered a panacea in conflict situations in the Team, What is often overlooked: It does not always lead to the goal, because talking is not a panacea in conflicts.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Conflicts in the Team: What to do with repetitions?

Constant disputes with the same people on the same topic strain the nerves of everyone involved and damage the productivity of a team. So at some point you ask yourself the question: What can you do about it - or to make communication better?

What I noticed recently: We write Best of HR –® Constantly talking about how to motivate people, convince them and help them to be more productive - with the right communication tools, for example. We give tips to be better understood, to correctly delegate work instructions and how to persuade others in conflict situations eg of their own opinion.

If communication tricks are wasted love trouble

One thing we can not ignore with all the nice tips: Sometimes even the best communication tricks are simply wasted love. Simply because the addressee of our efforts is far too far from our own point of view and does not understand us at all can, Or understands us, but simply does not follow our view will, One of our readers recently put it in a nutshell:

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“In general, the crucial thing is not what you say, but what others (partly unconsciously) interpret into it. It is of little use to speak formally correct. One of my favorite quotations from Max Frisch is: 'Human language is unique but not unique. Any attempt to communicate can only succeed with the goodwill of others. '”

Communication between sender and receiver: the language-act theory

If one follows the speech act theory, for example, misunderstandings are largely based on communicative problems. Roman Jakobson defines transmitter and receiver in his model.

In between, language is the medium. Not everything the sender emits is understood by the receiver exactly as the sender meant. This depends, among other things, on the context, the channel chosen and finally the code in which the message is transmitted. Or to put it simply:

Basics of communication: The understanding of values ​​must be right

To avoid linguistic misunderstandings, it is necessary to adapt the medium so that the receiver also understands the transmitter - eg with all kinds of rhetorical gimmicks. So far the theory. A problem now is that you should know the basic values ​​of his opponent to adjust the communication.

Unfortunately, this is often not possible, especially in a professional context. But even if we succeed, the communication with some people remains problematic: namely, those people with whom, despite everything, we do not come to a green branch because their basic attitudes, goals and motivations deviate too much from our own.

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Conflicts in the team: When communication becomes unproductive

There is hardly anything less productive than constant confrontation with such people. Unfortunately, however, quite a few people find themselves in the error of being able to solve every problem through communication. An example is the supervisor, who wants to convince the employee of his decisions.

But not only that; the employee should be enthusiastic and motivated, even if they are so unwelcome for him. Since the boss is in the power position, the employee does not have the chance to express his own opinion. In any case, he will be dissatisfied with the conversation.

If negotiations and discussions become unproductive in the case of conflict

However, many believe that they can solve such fundamental difficulties through discussions, negotiations, mediation, staff appraisals, meetings and the like - that's a mistake. And a very time-consuming and unproductive.

My conclusion from such experiences: True to the motto "Take it, change it or leave it", if it turns out that discussions are fruitless, you should stop the same.

If a separation in conflict is the best option

A separation is the most time-saving variant in such cases. And the most annoying too. Not always communication can improve a situation too. It is just not the always praised panacea in case of conflict.

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Not always both sides are willing to really, really improve their communication. And in fact: Only if this condition is fulfilled at all, a conversation in the end may not work well.

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  1. Margaret

    But talking always helps!

  2. Steffi

    Hey, totally exciting approach. You do not always have to fight. Thanks for that!

  3. Silke Angela Hannover

    Professionals know: One of the basic rules in communication is: Everyone who is involved in the conflict has joint responsibility for this conflict. Therefore communication (verbal and non-verbal and emotional) cannot be explained causally and logically. Blame is not possible - everyone has given their contribution that it is the way it is. It takes a “neutral” person, who is not part of the conflict, in order to bring about a clarification if you can no longer make any progress yourself. Repression and “making away” is definitely not a solution - the conflict then plunges into the subconscious; one then speaks of “cold” conflicts and appears subtle. That does not make it better" ;-)

    • Simone Janson

      Dear Mrs. Hannover, thank you for your comment. Of course, you are right. Sometimes it helps to gain a little distance and get professional help.

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