- Learners will be able to describe causes of conflict.
- Learners will be able to explain strategies for resolving conflict.
- Learners will be able to describe the benefits of clear communication to address conflicts early.
In any job, you’re probably going to encounter workplace conflict. While conflict is natural and it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone has done anything wrong, there are definitely wrong ways to manage it. In this lesson, we’ll talk about causes of conflicts and strategies for resolving them, as well as ways we can avoid conflict to start with.
When we find ourselves in a conflict, it can be helpful to pinpoint the cause. Read through the common causes of conflicts below. Think about which types you've experienced.
When we think of conflicts with others, we often picture personality clashes. The way we interact with others differs from person to person, and is shaped by our experiences. While our experiences are all valid and no personality type is inherently wrong, sometimes, we have to learn new ways to interact with other people.
Just like we all have different personality types, we tend to have different communication styles as well. The words we choose and the way we say them can come off differently to others, and it's important to be very clear when discussing work-related topics and expectations. It's also important to ask clarifying questions if you feel like you might not understand what someone is communicating.
Everyone has different priorities. While, for some of us, work comes first, there's nothing wrong with considering other aspects of our lives at a higher value. But when there's an opportunity for different priorities, there's also an opportunity for conflict.
It's important that we stand up for ourselves at work, but it's also important for us to understand that our needs aren't necessarily the same as everyone else's. It can cause conflict when we fail to consider the needs of others in addition to our own.
When we're young, we spend a lot of time at school talking about sharing, and it turns out, you still have to share as an adult. While it would be nice if every job had every resource we could ever need, sometimes, there are limitations, and that can cause conflict.
It can be frustrating when someone on a team doesn't pull their weight. When others have to do more because some people do less, it builds resentment and can cause conflict.
While the nature of conflicts can vary, we tend to respond to them in similar ways. By learning about conflict responses and management strategies, we can learn to handle them productively instead of letting them escalate.
There are five common responses to conflict. As you read through them, consider which strategies might be healthier than others.
In many cases of conflict, avoidance feels like an easy fix. If you ignore the conflict, hopefully it will go away. While time can be beneficial in conflict management, time alone will not address the issues, and the conflict will likely pop up in the future.
Similar to avoidance, accommodation is a way of making the conflict disappear without addressing it. One party simply chooses to give up their view and go with the other. But just like with avoidance, the problem isn't really resolved permanently.
Competition seems like a fair way of deciding conflicts - the decision is fair since one person has to win over the other. But when one person wins, the other loses, and they leave feeling like they had to give up what they wanted.
In collaboration, instead of using any single person's original plan, the team works together to come up with a new idea that can make everyone happy.
Compromise is a method for finding solutions to problems in which each involved party gives up a little of their original interests. While everyone loses a little bit of what they originally wanted, compromise focuses on a fair middle ground that everyone can feel comfortable with.
While every conflict can be resolved, clear communication can help resolve conflicts early on, before they can become major problems. By communicating clearly, we can express our opinions and needs in a clear manner before our emotions take over. Here are a few tips for communicating clearly in a conflict.