Learning how managing conflicts and how to prevent them will help you avoid workplace headaches. There are many factors
that can contribute to conflicts. Factors like workplace attitudes, ethics by both management and employees, dealing with stress and even the lack of professionalism.
There also may be barriers that have blocked the communication process.
One solid tool that has been around a long time and extremely effective is called (TKI). Better known as the Thomas-Kilmann’s Conflict Mode Instrument. Understanding when and how to use TKI will help you develop conflict management strategies. TKI will help you indentify which conflict management style you should approach with. Using these strategies will ultimately lead you to improved conflict resolution in the workplace.
The underlying problem with conflict in the workplace is its effect on productivity, performance, workplace stress and especially motivating employees.Workplace conflicts are the kiss of death for employee motivation. Motivating in general has a lot to do with your employees belief and trust in you. So how you effectively resolve them will be critical. Handling conflicts is only one aspect of how to motivate your employees.
Workplace issues will always be there no matter what you do. Even the best companies with the best workplace cultures will have to deal with conflicts. Conflicts in general become distractions, they will cause you and your employees to lose focus on the task at hand. The conflict ends up being the focus if its not handled effectively.
Effective conflcit resolution will result in eliminating a particular conflict from happening again. There will be an increased understanding of how to handle the process of dealing with conflicts. This will help in the future when another conflict arises and it will. Increased group cohesion will be created and the team will work better together. Also the improvement of self knowledge, this will help employees have a better idea of what their co-workers jobs actually entail. This in turn will imporve communication thoughout the group.
One of the best strategies you can use is to understand where and how a conflict in the workplace is created. Some conflicts are born out of work related isues like ethics, others are generated from outside issues. Typical workplace issues can range from small to large in size. Outside work related issues are derived from problems at home and in general everyday life worries. These conflict in the workplace outside factors often will effect employees with more than usally stress. They also tend to have shorter fuse and may have a changed attitude.
There is a lot of indepth knowledge on the sources of conflicts when it comes to conflict management training. For example developing improved team building can be a resolution to current and and future conflict.This sort of training will provide you all the tools you’ll need to conquer the issues above.
Now The importance of conflict in the workplace and their possible sources are understood, We can focus on some techniques and strategies for conflict resolution in the workplace. As earlier mentioned, one of the best tools you can use is TKI. Thomas and Kilmann’S Conflict Mode Instrument will allow you to choose the best style that fits the conflicting situtation.
There are five styles or approaches in TKI: Competitive style, Collaborative style, Compromising Style, Accomodating Style and the Avoiding Style. Below are further details on each style.
When it comes to conflict in the workplace, individuals in this stlye will take a firm stand and absolutely will know what they’re after. Their standing and belief most likely has resulted from being in a postion of power, rank and extensive experiences. They also will have the ability to effectively persuade others. A competitive style becomes useful in times of emergencies or when a quick decison must be made. Many times the decision will not be favorable to all the parties involved.
Keep in mind that these decisions may have negative effects on your employees. They may feel angered, frustrated and even resentful. So make sure you only make tough decisions in the most important urgent situations.
People that fall into the collaborative style will simply try to satisfy everyone. Their main characteristic is being highly assertive. This type of individual is the opposite of the competitive style person. They have strong cooperation skills and speak of everyone as equal and important.
The best use of this stlye is when there are many different viewpoints in order to get the best solution. There may have been previous conflicts in the workplace or within a particular group. Or even the situation itself is too important for a simple trade off.
Many people take part in a compromising style. This style consists of developing solutions that will at some point satisfy everyone. The compromising style is often compared to concessions. Concessions are the giving up of one thing to get another. You will often find this practice in neogotations of contracts.
Thomas and Kilmann state that this strategy and style is useful when the cost of conflict is higher than the cost of losing ground. An example of this would be labor contract neogations that are at a standstill between employees and ownership. To reach compromise all paties must be willing to give and take to avoid approaching deadlines.
The accomodating style is all about a willingness to meet the needs of others at the expense of the persons own needs. The acommodator often knows when to give into others. They also can be persuaded to surrender when it is neccessary.
This type of accommodating person is not assertive, but is highly cooperative. Use this style for conflicts that are more important to the other group. The main thought here is that workplace unity is more important than winning. Another reason to use this style is to be in a position to collect on a favor for accommodating. Just keep in mind that people always don’t return favors. Overall this approach is unlikely to deliver the best possible outcomes you are seeking.
The avoiding style is all about evading a conflict completely. Characteristics of this style will include fear of confrontation, delaying important decisions and accepting default decisions. Also there is a fear of hurting other peoples feelings.
The best time to use this strategy is when victory is impossible or when someone else is in a better position to solve the problem. In most cases this stlye lacks any sort of effectiveness.
Another good conflict in the workplace technique is to improve your leadership skills. No matter how well we think we know things, the ways of doing things change.
How to use the Thomas-Kilmann’s conflict mode instrument (TKI)
Conflict in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult to defeat. Once you understand the different styles, you can use them to think about the most appropriate approach or a combination for whatever issues you have. You may want to take a look at your own instinctive approach, and learn how you need to change this if necessary.
In conclusion find the right approach that matches the sitiuation, repair fragile working relationships,resolve the conflict and still respect your employees concerns.