Conflicts must be
Conflicts are commonplace. They are everywhere, where independent people live and work together. If conflicts are resolved cooperatively, they offer great opportunities for positive human development and are a valuable source of operational progress. However, if they are not recognized or even misbehaved, they arise again and again and can in one Team cause devastating damage.
Social conflicts are tense situations in which two or more parties that are dependent on each other vigorously try to realize seemingly or actually incompatible action plans and are aware of their opposition (as defined by Rüttinger and Sauer).
What happens in conflicts?
Conflicts can be long or short, they can be carried out objectively or aggressively, they can be addressed openly or indirectly. Despite this diversity, a conflict usually occurs in four phases:
1. conflict creation
In the “clash” of different interests, each party wants to enforce its own goals and needs. Conflicts are all the more likely
- the more diverse the professional knowledge and experience of the employees are,
- the more unclear the roles, functions and competences are for the participants and
- less the objectives are more precise, known and understood.
2. conflict perception
People perceive conflicts from different perspectives. A factually correct assessment of the conflict situation is often difficult. Typical conflict signals are
- bad team attitude (aggressive communication style, hardened discussions, killer phrases, topics are disrupted, lack of compromise)
- retreat (refusal to take on tasks and reference to others, absence, inattention, passivity, avoidance of eye contact, escape to other work outside the project)
- Agreements not respected (unpunctuality, unreliability)
3. conflict analysis
Important questions about conflict analysis:
- Who is involved?
- What conflict is it?
- How important is the dispute?
These assessments influence the behavior of the participants. It is important how differentiated the different ways of acting are perceived and how realistically the cause of conflict is assessed. Managers should be careful not to look at a conflict from their own point of view. A change of perspectives allows understanding of the different situations and perspectives of the conflict partners.
4. Conflict reaction / handling
Conflicts can be regulated in three ways:
- By means of power: the more powerful conflict partner or a third party forces a solution. Power, such as violence, money, and relationships, serve to enforce.
- By means of the right: by means of legal means and authorities, it is decided who is in the right.
- Taking into account interests: The conflict partners determine their deeper desires, demands, needs and elaborate a balance of interests.
The best solution to the conflict is the consensus
With this strategy the circuit is broken through. It is not the factual agreement, but the constructive conflict management that is at the forefront. Opposing opinions are discussed and brought together to a better whole.
Those who recognize their own behavior and at the same time accept diversity, have a valuable basis in dealing with conflicts and conflict opponents. Active listening and first messages make it easier to recognize the different points of view and needs.
Only winners are positive performers
True conflict resolution is most likely to happen if there is no power gap between the parties involved. Conflicts are more suppressed than resolved by the application of power. They continue to smolder and demand an ever-new power-exercise. Anyone who leaves a loser as the winner of a conflict is sooner or later the loser.
Only winners are productive providers. The joint search for solutions, their assessment and joint decisions lead to conflict resolutions, which are accepted and supported by all sides.
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