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All business organizations are made up of individuals that interact several times a day. Each individual has a different background, belief system, perspective, personality, set of interests, and goals. It is natural and inevitable that at a certain point conflicts will arise. How people respond to conflict determines if the situation has a positive or negative outcome.
Conflict management has been a topic of discussion for thousands of years. Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato both suggested that conflict and harmony could be obtained only with proper leadership. Dewey, the US pragmatist thinker, argued that it was the responsibility of the individual to resolve a conflict. Anytime the relationships between humans and their environment are interrupted by conflict, intelligence must be used efficiently to adjust to a change in actors’ conventional modes of conduct and belief. The individual in question should examine a conflict situation to discover the various actions possible, and select the most efficient solution to the conflict.
Daniel Goleman coined the term “Emotional intelligence” to describe the kind of intelligence Dewey was describing. Emotional Intelligence refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions in oneself and others. Goleman defined five components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, motivation, and empathy. Individuals who possess high levels of emotional intelligence have smoother interactions with members of their work teams. They can also accurately perceive, understand and appraise others’ emotions and build supportive networks. Lack of understanding causes works relationships breakups, estrangement, and counter-arguments. As always, open communication can help during conflict resolution.
In recent years, business organizations have renewed focus on conflict management, recognizing that conflict between individuals can have a large and detrimental impact on a company’s performance. Conflicts can damage healthy business culture, destroy trust among colleagues, and undermine team-building efforts. Since some degree of conflict between human beings is always likely, it is crucial, not only for leaders but for everyone in the organization, to acquire the necessary skills and techniques to manage and reduce clashes in their teams and stakeholders.
Conflict is not all bad. It is a double-edged sword that may yield beneficial results such as innovation and overcome conflict can create a strong bond between two persons.
It can also be an opportunity to grow and successful conflict resolution can keep professional and personal relationships strong. Thus managing conflicts in the organization are instrumental in maintaining company culture, career growth, and business success.
Social psychologist Douglas McGregor had two theories of conflict resolution in organizations, Theory Y, and Theory X. Theory X is your traditional top-down model where all conflicts are resolved by a leader. While Theory Y implies that leadership is responsible not for resolving individual conflicts, but for the creating the culture where Employees should be empowered and encouraged to interact and collaborate and be responsible for their own conflict resolution. Decisions in this kind of culture are often made collectively, and the team works autonomously under a hands-off leadership style. This can be a source of fulfillment for some, as they know they are trusted to manage their own work, but it can be stressful for others who may feel uncertain about how they will be judged. It can foster creativity and growth in employees as it allows them to come up with their own solutions rather than being told what to do. But it can also cause resentment, as some self-direct themselves to exert greater effort or take on more responsibility than they perceive in others. The goal under Theory Y is to make everyone is self-managed, productive, and pitching in as the need arises. Employees should be given opportunities to contribute to organizational well-being, and become self-driven and work towards strategic goals.
When it comes to sustaining and maintaining company culture and controlling conflict resolution, every individual in the organization is crucial. We all have a critical role in contributing to a healthy company ecosystem that translates into an exceptional company environment, growth, performance, learning, and ultimately, satisfied customers with expectations sufficiently managed.
At Base22, we take a unique approach to conflict resolution and promoting company culture. We believe in providing clear communication channels for all employees. This means we focus on employee empowerment and transparency. From a tangible perspective, this means that we fully utilize a company portal system, a wiki website where we can share information seamlessly while collaborating, and an instant communication tool for the moments when you can’t wait for a meeting. If you want to learn how we can help your company facilitate open lines of communication and foster transparency, please get in touch with us. We would love to help your company effectively share information digitally.