This week we opened a discussion on the nature of conflict. Today we will conclude our examination by taking a closer look at conflict solutions and resolutions. So far, what our research has uncovered, is that leaders who fail to identify the source and level of a conflict, are more than likely to experience productivity reduction and motivational issues which can further impede worker participation.
Recognizing the level of conflict is a good starting place to begin at. For instance, for a leader facing an organization with everything around them seeming to crumble, it is imperative they acknowledge the critical and immediate need to address the outcomes of the firm’s failures. In other words, the driving force behind this leader’s actions would require an urgent short term response with focused attention on developing a plan that will address and resolve the failed outcome issues as well as come up with better long term plans.
In the meantime, leaders of a firm that are slowly losing customers, a growing number of employees are displaying a lack of enthusiasm in the work place, and are cognizant that revenue is slowly on a downward trajectory as a result of shrinking patrons, are in a position to develop a more calculated approach. In this scenario, smart leaders will see this as an opportunity to examine the situation more carefully. They are able to implement a variety of steps and backup plans that support systematic changes which can then be scheduled to occur over a period of time. These leaders can be more effective in achieving organizational goals with successful outcomes because in the planning process they recognized the need to develop a long term strategies.
To resolve differences, however, all parties involved require an openness and willingness to do the hard work to achieve positive outcomes. The ability, for example, for a leader to acknowledge and therefore address their own behavioral shortcomings, which can include a form of workplace bullying, is one kind of effective management skill that can help with solutions that will resolve conflicts. This is not always easy, as it requires a leader’s ability to recognize and acknowledge their own weaknesses, facing the possibility that their behavior may have health-harming effects, especially if they engage in the mistreatment of others.
This may be especially true for leaders that have a limited level of education. Many uneducated leaders like these, rely on outdated views and aggressive behavior passed down from generation to generation from strict cultural beliefs to justify their strategies, which often include verbal and psychological abuse. Many people with these views that are in leadership positions, are typically ignorant that their behavior is out of line. In fact, many do not perceive their conduct as offensive, nor are they able to recognize their intra-personal conflicts can interfere with their ability to comprehend that their behavioral choices serve as obstructions in the development of quality personal relationships with others, whether at home or at their place of employment.
Organizational leaders of this nature, display little concern about the passions, goals, or outcomes of others. If they had more compassion for the needs of others, or took the time to engage and connect more with staff members as organizational partners, rather than treat them as pawns to achieve organizational goals, these leaders could help create an atmosphere that is more conducive to achieving win-win solutions. However, when both parties are fixed in their position and are uncooperative, especially if they display a lack of mutual trust and respect, or reveal an ease in with they can express a deep level of frustration and anger, solutions will inevitably be more difficult to achieve.
Unfortunately, even with counseling and guidance, however, sometimes disputing parties are still unable to resolve their differences and may have to engage the legal system to resolve the issue. Without a willingness to (a) find tradeoffs; (b) deal with important issues rather than trivial ones; (c) find areas of agreement; and (d) focus on ideas and information rather than personalities, a resolution will be hard to reach. The negative effect of these kind of conflicts can ultimately result in noncompliance of orders and decisions in all parties involved. Managers that reduce the efforts to resolve conflicts, display a passive resistance, and engage in unethical behavior, reflect a kind of leadership that is incapable of brokering solutions. In his book, Organizational Behavior, Donald Baack (2012) reminds us that leaders who are unable to find solutions, work through conflicts, and fail to resolve staff members differences with peaceful resolutions, will eventually have to face the bankruptcy of their business as well as the dissolution of valuable relationships (Baack, 2012).
Looking over our research work this week, we discovered that conflict resolution and solution requires a level of commitment from leaders who understand the concerns and essentials of all the parties involved. When all the players are willing to negotiate and find a solution that includes the examination of all the steps required to address the conflict, the resolution will inevitably lead to one of three outcomes: (1) a win-lose situation, (2) a lose-lose situation (compromise), or (3) a win-win solution (Baack, 2012). In conclusion, while conflict may prevent workers from experiencing job satisfaction in an organizational environment, strong effective leaders who can identify the source and level of a conflict are in a better position to successfully address them to achieve a favorable outcomes and maintain a pleasant working environment; one where everyone feels valued and appreciated equally.
Well, that’s it for this week. Thanks for tuning in … until next time … stay organized!
“You don’t always have to fight to win. Give peace a chance.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
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Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.