Workplace Conflict Resolution – A Case Study
Posted on October 13, 2009
Leaders frequently face situations where conflict arises in the workplace and they’re called upon to resolve the situation. Although conflict is not generally regarded as a positive experience it actually can be a key opportunity to create change that will reduce friction in the workplace. We can begin to defuse conflict by understanding what it is and implementing some practical strategies to manage it. Conflict is a natural part of the workplace experience; people do not see eye to eye on everything and often dig in and defend their positions. Conflict arises when individuals do not see the world in the same way. The trap we fall into is assuming that conflict is a battle that must be won at all costs rather than viewing the situation as an opportunity to move in a more effective direction. Managers can benefit greatly by understanding that conflict is something that does not go away unless it is resolved. Conflict signals an issue that needs to be addressed. Once we understand that conflict is telling us that there is something that needs attention in our organization we can begin to implement a strategy to fix it. The four basic components of resolving a conflict are naming the issue, understanding each person’s point of view, brainstorming possible solutions together and selecting a solution that the parties agree on. These four steps allow us to figure out what is going on and work together to arrive at a mutually beneficial resolution. Notice that each step leads into the next with each piece increasing understanding between the parties in order to arrive at a win/win situation. Companies frequently find that it is the process of resolving the conflict that is most important for staff to learn and practice. Let us look at an example of how this process works in the real world. The names have been changed to protect anonymity. Tom is a manager at a dynamic firm who is...
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