“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” – Richard Bach
For many people, the biggest challenges they face in their jobs is communicating with others. And one of the most difficult communication challenges can be conflict. Some people embrace conflict, others prefer to avoid it at all costs.
Whether personal or business, conflict is a part of life. It is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about — in fact, conflict can be good for the health of a business. In today’s environment of competing interests and diversity of needs, many leaders need additional skills in order to address conflict constructively.Conflict is only a problem when it is poorly managed.
If you’re like most people you find applying your knowledge and a skill to the tasks of your job is pretty easy. The harder part of your job is interacting with people. Aside from working in a lighthouse, few jobs exist in which working with and getting along well with others is unimportant.
As you probably know, success in your work comes from more than just having expertise in your field or discipline. It also comes from being able to express that expertise so that others can understand it, from hearing what others need so you apply that expertise to serve them, and from working with others in ways that build, not damage, relationships – especially when you’re in a leadership role.
Rules of Conflict
1. When a conflict is not dealt with it escalates.
2. Conflict is neither good nor bad
3. Conflict is inevitable
4. Conflict does not have to result in winners and losers
5. In conflict both parties tend to believe that their opinion is fact
Sources of Conflict
Instrumental conflicts concern goals, means, procedures and structures.
Conflicts of interest concern the distribution of means such as money, time, staff, and space, or concern factors that are important for the distribution of these means, such as importance, ownership, competence and expertise.
Personal conflicts are about questions of identity and self-image, and important aspects in relationships.
Relational conflicts may center on loyalty, breach of confidence, lack of respect, or betrayal of friendship.
Determine the method to resolve the conflict:
Power or Compete
Now, armed with this knowledge you can communicate in a clear and assertive manner to find resolution.
Three Steps to Assertive Communication
1. Describe the situation or idea as clearly and specifically as you can.
2. Express how you feel about the situation. (Note: Use “I” or “My” statements to refer to how you are feeling and what you are thinking.)
3. Specify what you want. Include a specific deadline.