Ratgeber für MicroUnternehmen

Managing Conflicts in a Business Environment

Conflict is inherent in group settings and its proper management can be critical to the ultimate success of the whole group. Inasmuch, leaders of people engaged in a business environment should strive to fully understand conflict and learn to manage it constructively.

As commonly defined, conflict occurs when two individuals or groups of individuals want to occupy the same "space". "Space" in this context can be physical or psychological. Within a business environment, "space", of course would lean more toward being psychological.

A conflict usually involves strong emotions from both parties and needs to be resolved as rapidly as possible. Behavior and interaction of both parties involved are elements that should be observed and analyzed objectively.

It is very important for managers to recognize conflict and assess its growth potential early on. The followibg are some of the possible signs of a conflict in creation :

* Individuals or groups splitting into opposing camps
* Difference of opinions strongly debated without resolution
* Personal verbal attacks
* Words such as "You don't get it", "I disagree", "You just don't understand" being increasingly used

Managers are also encouraged to be able to differentiate between Destructive Conflict and Contructive Conflict, the former being the situation to be more actively managed and strive to turn it into the latter.

Warning signs of a Destructive Conflict :

* Behavior and emotion become more intense
* Issues leading to the conflict seem to be forgotten and personal feelings take the lead role
* Negatives are emphasized and Positives dismissed

Elements of a Constructive Conflict :

* Mixture of cooperation and competition between parties are evident
* Parties involved balance own interests in the pursuit of mutual gains
* Behaviors adapt to the issues of the moment

As emotion is such a strong element of any conflict, it would serve well to alleviate as much as possible the level of emotion and open the way to constructive and rational resolution of the issues leading to the conflict.


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