A conflict is a disagreement, discord, difference of opinion or clash of ideas. Conflict arises due to the non-acceptance of the situation or the problem. The inability to recognise and accept the differences causes severe damage to professional and personal relations.
There are various problems that arise out of unattended conflicts:
- Aggressive behaviour
- Heated arguments
- Use of abusive language
- Negative work environment
- Disruption of routine flow of information
- Loss of trust
- Wastage of time and money
- Emotional and mental stress
How to Resolve Conflict?
First and foremost it is important to understand that conflict resolution is unique to every situation and individual. Conflicts are governed by multiple factors. These factors include personality traits, personal/ professional relations, honest assessment of situation, time of interaction, understanding of problem and honest communication.
Negotiating to Resolve Problems
Negotiation is an art of settling the differences. It requires 3 important qualities to overcome the conflict:
Tact and diplomacy
There are 6 steps in the process of Negotiation
3. Identification of goals
4. Targeting a Win- Win situation for all participants
5. Arriving at a consensus by drafting a formal agreement
6. Adopting and implementing a course of action.
Preparation allows both parties to gather complete information about the reason of discord and review the circumstance through an impartial and flexible approach. This stage is important to research about company rulers and legal aspects before jumping to any conclusions. Clarity of mind regarding the dispute is important to prepare oneself and take a decision. Decision making is the first step towards negotiation .
Once the decision is taken by both parties to resolve the conflict, it becomes easier to enter the discussion phase with an open mind and a willing heart. Decision to negotiate indicates the interest of participants to explore a common ground and signals the initiation of the process of formal negotiation.
A discussion prepares the ground for identifying common goals and objectives. The rigorous question and answer sessions throw light on underlying differences and glaring discrepancies. Parties should ensure that goals are realistic and well defined. Attitude and tone of communication play a key role at this stage. An upright but courteous tone can reduce the bitterness and motivate the opponent to listen and respond positively. Aggressive tone, dominating behaviour and arrogant non-verbals can only further damage the situation.
Ego management and reputation management are basic to the resolution of conflicts. One has to be utmost careful while handling with such sensitive matter. So how to go about it? It is absolutely obvious that parties look for amicable solutions but not at the cost of complete loss or failure. Both parties need to pay sufficient attention to preserve the dignity and sanctity of the situation by respecting the individual identities and the fact that a certain degree of mutual interdependence is retained.
Win- win situation is the best possible way yet there can be alternative ways to solve the problem by arriving at mutually acceptable terms and conditions. A complete Win -Loss situation is no way a Negotiation. Demands, needs and decisions have to be stated clearly and a strategy should be adopted to address all isdues in an unbiased manner.
Formal agreement should be drafted and duly signed by all involved to adhere to the points of agreement and failing which be prepared to incur losses. Language of draft should be simple, neutral and specific. It should state the points of agreement in a meaningful, positive, non-threatening and responsible tone.
Documenting the process will serve as a continual reminder to all to stick to the purpose and strive towards accomplishing common goals. Any breach of contract would automatically result in failure of Negotiation.
Success of Negotiation depends on the skills of communication and diplomacy. Attentive and empathetic listening, sharp communication, positive attitude and neutral tone can minimise the differences and pave the way for better negotiation.
Remember what Marvin Gaye said, “Negotiation means getting the best of your opponent.”
Do not fear, do not compromise but prepare yourself to negotiate!
Win a Negotiation today …