Ratgeber für MicroUnternehmen

Constructive Management of Conflicts

Constructive management of conflicts depends on several factors: honest communication, active listening, finding common interests, and articulation. But what do these terms mean?
  • Honest communication
Honest communication requires telling the truth in its entirety. When someone does not give full and honest communication, it does not always mean that they are bad people. Fear of being punished for giving bad news can occur in the workplace. Reluctance to report problems to managers who will assign blame or refuse to hear the problem without a solution can also impede honest communication. But without honest communication, the true scope and root causes of the conflict cannot be identified, and this is necessary for constructive management of conflicts.
  • Active listening
Active listening involves truly listening to what the other person is saying. Then the listener repeats back their summary of what the speaker has said and seeks confirmation. This serves two purposes. The first purpose is to confirm that one understands. The second purpose is to demonstrate to the speaker that the listener was, indeed, listening. This builds trust as well as understanding.
  • Finding common interests
  • Common interests often relate to extracurricular activities. That is not true for common interests in the work place. Finding common interests in the work place gives those in a conflict a reason to resolve it. Does the conflict need to be resolved so that team goals are met and thus financial incentives are earned? Will solving the conflict improve the workplace atmosphere and prevent key people from quitting, with the remainder having to take up their work load? Finding common interests gives all parties in the conflict a reason to work to resolve it.
  • Articulation
Articulation requires assigning actionable words to describe a problem. Conflicts that are not articulated can be described as: "He's mean. She's cruel. They hate me." Articulated conflicts are described as: "He's angry with me for not meeting his unrealistic performance goals. She brings her politics into the workplace and punishes me professionally for not agreeing with her. He penalizes anyone who reports problems so they only grow until it explodes." Articulation provides detailed reasons that can then be targeted for action to resolve the workplace conflict.


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