In my last article on conflict, I hinted a bit on the possible causes of conflict in startup organisations. In this article, I attempt to proffer a brief overview of the various strategies for conflict management in startup organisations. Conflict by its very nature cannot be avoided and it may occur in a variety of ways. Conflict can happen between two employees, among entire teams or between supervisors and their respective team members. Be that as it may, worth noting is that conflict situations, if properly handled, allow us to learn more about those that surround and this could be a major stepping stone in building strong and efficient work relationships. Below are some few tips on how to better manage conflict when it occurs at your workplace or startup organisation.
There is a sense in which conflict in the workplace is a thing to be embraced. To this effect, entrepreneurs always find themselves faced with the paradox that they have to create teams that work well together yet embracing conflict. Human nature, however, has taught us to avoid conflict for many reasons where some feel it costs a lot of time, energy and might negatively impact relationships with others. Now, it is encouraged that conflict should be faced head-on. This is not to suggest that you should be on the lookout to conflict with every colleague in your workplace. No. What this implies is that when conflict arises in your workplace don`t avoid it or pretend nothing has happened. Instead, deal with the seemingly uncomfortable issue as soon as possible otherwise your failure to do so would result in problems and bad feelings being embedded in everyday work.
Pause and Take A Breather
Once you acknowledge that you are in a conflict situation at your workplace, it is wise that before you go on to give your side of the story pause a bit and take some few moments to breathe. The purpose of this technique is to give you time to analyse the situation to ascertain whether or not you are taking things personally or maybe there is a simple misunderstanding somewhere which is causing you or the other person to be reactive. While doing this exercise, figure out who else might be involved in the conflict situation to ascertain their possible outlook about the situation.
The purpose of taking a breather allows you to relieve whatever tension that might have built up inside of you. This then accords you the opportunity to have a more focused outlook on the matter at hand. In some instances, conflicts escalate because the parties involved would have failed to put things into proper perspective. A mere caution about another person`s conduct in the workplace might be interpreted as a personal attack. Failure to appreciate such as a gesture to maintain appropriate workplace behaviour might cause the parties involved to be reactive and emotional thus making things worse.
Recognise that everyone has a biased perception of fairness
While you take your breather in a pause, you need to recognise that as humans we tend to perceive things differently. Worse still, in a conflict situation, one is most likely to feel it right in holding his/her perspective thus rendering the other person(s) as wrong. Although this is tantamount to causing more chaos it is understandable given the fact that our sense of what constitutes a fair conflict resolution is predominantly biased towards our ego. Remember in the previous article on the conflict I mentioned ego clashes as one of the causing factors of workplace conflict.
Now, ego-centrism always makes it difficult to see the situation from another person`s perspective thus drawing the parties involved further apart. Therefore, it is encouraged that you try to overcome that self-centred righteousness perception. In so doing and depending on the nature of the conflict, you might find it proper to invite a mediator who will help establish another person`s point of view. At least this will work much towards ironing out the biases and ensuring that everyone focuses on the real matter at hand.
Allow yourself to find a solution
It is always encouraged that in any situation you should be solution-oriented which means you focus your energy more on finding solutions than picking outstanding problems. Therefore, for people in conflict, it is encouraged that they agree to come together and discuss the problem at hand. This process is made easy if you manage to find a good suiting mediator who will encourage you to adopt an open mind approach to the issue in question. In resolving the issue at hand, try to find the best or alternative solution for the parties involved and in so doing personal emotions should be overridden. Where everyone has managed to control their personal emotions and all are focused on finding a solution, a win-win kind of an outcome will defiantly result.
Be Quick To Forgive But Take Lessons
There is a sense in which every conflict requires a clear resolution especially one that acknowledges that the parties involved have had their feelings hurt. A solution, therefore, will be quick in mending the hurt emotions and this could be achieved by allowing the ‘offender’ or both parties to apologise to each other. Most importantly, where they apologise, they should mean it otherwise grudges might be created unknowingly. But over and above, it is always important that the parties involved listen to each other sincerely and appreciate what they learnt about the other person from the moment of conflict.