Any setting where you work on a group project, in a team, or in an organization, conflict is inevitable. I like to look at conflict as an unavoidable roadblock, but what most people misinterpret about that analogy is that they assume that the conflict is a bad thing. While there can be flaring tempers and harsh words used in extremely tense conflicts, there can also be the proposition of creative solutions. Conflict can arise for a variety of reasons. The most common cause of conflict is issues within interpersonal relationships. Present day organizations are very team driven, which means that it is very likely that you will work in a team at some point and you may even encounter another employee that you do not get along with. That indifferent relationship may result in a conflict that is due to differences in working style, differences in personal values, or difference in skills and expectations, but either way we must be prepared to redirect a conflict into creative solutions without tarnishing relationships. I believe that addressing issues in the early stages of a project or team formation would be most beneficial because you can minimize the severity of the conflict.
Conflict Management in Leadership
I believe that conflict management contributes to leadership by minimizing the severity of conflicts and eventually solving problems. Conflict is inevitable in any group setting so as leaders it is dire that we can direct people to creative solutions. Screaming matches and violent actions are never the proper solution, which is why it is so important to have leader that can effectively mediate a conflict and provide group members with mutually beneficial solutions that fulfill the needs of both parties. Conflicts arise when people finally address issues that have been on their mind for awhile in a manner that is typically not respectful, calm or reserved. The tricky part about conflicts is that it is likely that the people involved have been building up emotions for some time, and they are just now letting everything out. That is why we must also be skilled in identifying causes of conflict within our groups, teams, and organization and conflict management teaches us how to do that.
This artifact is from OGL 220: Behavioral Dynamics in Organizations, which was one of my first classes here at Arizona State University. The reason that I chose to use this artifact is because it discusses my approach to of my preferred conflict management approach. There are advantages and disadvantages to every approach, as well as different scenarios that each would be most useful in, but in this worksheet, I was discussing the compromising conflict approach which I believe has been the most effective for me. Your desired approach may not work every time, so it is important to have a well-versed skillset that can handle multiple types of scenarios. Given the opportunity, I would choose the compromising approach, but should the conflict escalate, I may have to move to a different approach with harder or softer resistance. Sometimes solving the conflict and cutting your losses is more important than what you may lose as a result. The reason for this is because this way you maintain a positive relationship with your team, and they maintain a positive relationship with each other.
Conflict Management and Organizational Leadership
I believe that conflict management directly relates to the Organizational Leadership degree because, after graduation, many of us are going to go off and work at organizations that are very team focused. Which means that we will inevitably encounter some sort of conflict within those teams, but we will be well prepared thanks to our preparation through the Organizational Leadership program. My ability to manage conflicts has drastically improved since my time in this program began and I think that it is a skill that will benefit me for many years to come. When there is conflict in a group of any kind, it is necessary that a leader is able to problem solve, propose solutions, motivate and unite their team. You can unite your team by reminding them that they are all working toward the same goal.
Personal Growth & Development
Prior to the program, conflict was never a subject that I was comfortable with. I viewed conflict in the same generalized idea that I believe most people view conflict. Conflict seemed to be nothing but an unproductive argument that ended with both parties storming off. However, I never had the skillset or perspective necessary to think of conflict as anything but unproductive and hurtful. Through this program I have learned how to identify causes of conflict in the early stages and then mediate a productive solution once the conflict is inevitably addressed. Sometimes conflict arises just because peoples needs aren't being met, but if I can correctly mediate conflicts by communicating and connecting with people on an open and emotional level, then I believe we can productively address the unfulfilled needs and find new solutions that fulfill the needs of both parties.