Conflicts are part of any human encounters and living together
Conflicts are often understood as battle situations and easily tend to unfold their own dynamics impeding a constructive conflict management. The personal attitude towards conflicts is accompanied by an increasing limitation of the ability of perception and decision. Conflicts do in fact have a strong impact on our ability of perception and on our thinking in a way that they influence our actions so much that we are more and more unable to see the reality around us as it is.
The personal attitude - and resulting from this - the behavior during conflict is essential for a conflict solution. If the mind is bent on winning (win/lose) or avoiding (lose/lose) conflicts, on making concessions (lose/win) or compromises (win-win/lose-lose) or if the mind strives for cooperation (win/win), solution possibilities may either be impeded or enabled.
The situative use, so to speak the deliberate choice of a certain behavior, gives conscious room to conflicts. This room is necessary, because it provides to conflicts the potential that leads into the ability of innovation. Unfortunately, it can also lead into destruction.
Types of conflict
Conflicts regarding estimations or values (different views on objectives, principals, conventions and values)
Conflicts regarding evaluations / perceptions (different views on ways, different evaluation / perception of a common situation)
Conflicts regarding assignments (different views on the assignment of resources)
Conflicts regarding roles (different views on role expectations)
Conflicts regarding objectives (different views on objectives)
Conflicts of relationships (the "chemistry" does not fit)
The escalation model of Glasl distinguishes nine steps. The course of conflict does not take place on one level, but in clearly definable steps. Every transition from one step to next lower one is perceived by the conflict parties as a turning point.
Conflicts mostly start with slight quarrels and tensions. It is important to recognize the very first signals, to take them seriously and react. Moreover, we have to differ between hot and cold conflicts. A hot conflict will lead to a direct confrontation with the counter party by normally ignoring rules and principles. The conflict is marked by impulsiveness, emotionality, self-consciousness and is carried by affects. The parties are aware of the conflict, whereas in cold conflicts the parties try to get out of the way of each other. The communication is reduced to a formal minimum. Rules and processes are established in order to avoid any contact.
Preventive: In order to prevent communication problems some information rules are agreed: Training in communication methods
Curative: The course of conflict is simulated and solved: The conflict partied declare their different perceptions.
Preventive: The consultant decidedly talks about worries, fears, assumptions. Session of confrontation to prevent a starting conflict turning into a cold one.
Curative: Existing cold conflicts are dramatized, overacted by role plays. A lobbyist encourages his clients to stand up for their points of view.
What does a team, a division, a company, or a group need: Harmony or a culture of conflict? A conflict culture describes a climate where conflicts can neither be avoided nor be fought out violented, but where they are understood as a valuable opportunity for development. In order to achieve this, social and intercultural competences are trained and obtained. Thus, emotional intelligence of the employees, the leadership and the management can be further developed. Firmly anchored are the different methods of conflict management, not only the elements of prevention and value procurement in order to achieve the objectives in the social / economical living together, but also part of the development of the organization.
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