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15 Feb, 2011

Managing Conflict by Debbie Robinson

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success|Success Stories

Managing Conflict by Debbie Robinson

Debbie Robinson, The Coaching Academy graduate and former Sales and Marketing Director of a small independant IT Services company has put together this informative article on how to manage conflict.

Who do you think you are?

In all organisations there are groups and individuals competing for resources or influence. Whether at individual, group or at organisational level, there are a wide range of differences in priorities, values and opinions.

The question of whether conflict should exist or be ironed out, whether it is helpful or destructive, or whether it is a natural outcome or if it should be managed not eliminated, prevails in all organisations. Organisations are inevitably attempting to reconcile differences much of the time so that outright conflict does not become a barrier to good performance.

Resolving differences or potential conflict takes large chunks of management time and energy. When asked to describe their biggest problems over the past few months, the majority of managers in one local study mentioned conflict as a major issue. Some managers felt groups lacked co-operation and poor communications were rife and others felt that some conflict was never really resolved.

Yet, organisations without differences of values, opinions, and personalities are bland. Forward thinking companies like 3M, Microsoft and Virgin are exploiting differences for creative purposes and to inspire development.

Arguments and competition between individuals and groups can become disruptive and degenerate into serious conflict. The executive’s dilemma is how to prevent damaging conflict situations from arising and how to resolve effectively when they do. This can be complicated by the fact that some people thrive on conflict and some avoid it at all costs.

No one can work in an organisation and escape conflict. Socio-economic differences as well as cultural expectations, interests, beliefs, preferences, levels of self-esteem, ability to tolerate stress etc all lead to the conclusion of the inevitable conflict.

Situations where one’s opinions, interests, or actions are never resisted by someone else are unlikely. Conflict is an outgrowth of organisational life, because working with others requires negotiating and renegotiating, undertakings and outcomes.

Understanding the context for the conflict leads one to focus on the important consequences of the conflict. Conflict has possible future consequences both positive and negative for an individual. But to understand, we must analyse the underlying factors that lead to the conflict situation and the related feelings, perceptions and behavior.

This can be a very difficult managerial challenge.

Debbie Robinson, a Business and Personal Coach says “For many executives and managers, the truth is that asking for help can have connotations of weakness or perhaps be seen as negative. So at times, it may be challenging to admit negative reflection on our competency in communication skills.

Some executives and managers are careful about what data or psychological angst is shared with colleagues and fellow board members. The executive may feel that he or she may have to present a very confident and ‘in control’ image. Through the coaching process we use effective cognitive tools to enable individuals to see themselves from various perspectives, understanding how they are perceived by others. This helps the individual look at the quality of their communications, relationships and develops self-awareness. Leaders have a big responsibility to promote a culture and expectations for open, honest, positive, helpful, constructive, sensitive communications, and the sharing of knowledge through- out their business. Top performing groups, departments and companies always tend to have a culture of open and positive communication.”

Do you or your management team have a ‘blind spot’? Are you communicating effectively and efficiently? Or are you keeping your teams in the dark and adding to uncertainty and creating conflict? We all know how difficult it is to work well when kept in the dark. No-one works well when subjected to ‘mushroom management’.

Debbie continues “In these challenging times how do you resolve conflict? We all have a preferred way of dealing with thorny issues in the work place but are our responses appropriate and effective? Only by being aware of our preferences can we select the correct and appropriate style and ensure, as managers and leaders we are creating a harmonious and productive working environment”.

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February 15th, 2011 at 5:30 pm


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2 | Tweets that mention Managing Conflict by Debbie Robinson - Coaching Blog --

February 16th, 2011 at 11:59 pm


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