Become a better manager by harnessing, managing, and controlling conflict

John Sherman

In life there are irritations and upsets that we simply cannot avoid. These can be destructive for our friendships or the relationship with our significant other, but they’re generally resolved over time and leave no lasting damage. After all, these are the people we love and care for deeply.

The workplace, however, offers different sets of problems and disagreements that need to be resolved. There are some benefits of conflict, but if they’re allowed to spiral out of hand, then the consequences can be costly.

For this reason, taking a course in conflict management is a wise investment. The course teaches individuals, from top to the bottom, how to identify and react – healthily and fairly – to conflicts that they become involved in.


Benefits of knowing how to manage a conflict professionally are:

  • Improved Output – Departments and individuals can dramatically improve their effectiveness if they are working in harmony. Conflicts cause breakdowns in communication which can be detrimental to working lives.
  • Fewer Sick Days – When people are under immense stress, they need days off to recuperate. When conflicts are resolved quickly, there is a drop in levels of stress and a drop in sick days taken.
  • Employee Retention – Employees leave organizations when they don’t enjoy the working atmosphere. A major reason for a sour working environment is ongoing conflict. Resolve them and you retain your work force, particularly the highest performers.

How Conflict is Perceived – The course begins by explaining that conflict is a fact of life, it’s unavoidable. But how we feel when we are involved in conflict? Does our heart race, do we find ourselves shouting over the other people? Is all you do in a conflict react and attack? If so, you do need to improve this.

In this introductory section, students will be propelled to question their own reactions and gut feelings in conflict situations. Do they view see conflict as an obstacle, or as an opportunity?

Conflict Fables – This section looks at the common mistakes people make when in conflict. Common reactions to conflicts are refusing to listen and demanding to be listened to. Often people refuse to even consider the opposing person’s point of view.

None of these approaches are helpful. Rather than use force, this section of the course suggests that persuasion is the more powerful tool for peace.

This section advises learners on how to avoid the common pitfalls of conflicts and change their patterns of behavior when engaging in disagreements that are in danger of overheating.

Conflict Conversations - This section also looks at roots of most conflict and explains that in reality, most are down to either poor communication or an inability to control emotions. How can we change this?

By following a guide based on Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, learners can re-evaluate what a conflict means to them and whether this negative can have a positive outcome.

Through following Covey’s lead, we are able to rework how a conflict affects us. Among the habits are picking your battles, knowing the outcome you want before you enter into a conversation, and understanding first, before seeking to be understood.

All of these tips are accompanied by practical advice so that the suggestions can actually be applied in a real-life situation.

Though conflicts are usually unpleasant experiences, this section explains that the outcome can help improve all parties within concerned with it.


Why Conflict Management Matters

In the 21st Century, laws and rules for employers are rightly tighter than they ever have been. The risk for an employer of falling foul to regulations intended to protect individuals in the work place is higher than it has been at any point. With problems like workplace bullying on the rise, a proactive approach is needed from employers if they hope to avoid problems for their own organization.

So why take such huge risks for the reputation and finances of your company when there are options out there to deal with this exact problem?

The inability to manage conflict is not a healthy position to be in, regardless of any employer’s position in a team. From the executive board to the cleaning staff, all individuals should know how to appropriately go about resolving work or personal disputes.

Without this knowledge, that small staff dispute that has been rumbling on may turn into a ticking time-bomb.

Act now to protect yourself.

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