How to Tackle Conflict

Before you can resolve a conflict, it is essential to understand the sources of it, especially at work. Our opinions diverge constantly, this is normal and healthy. It can even be an opportunity. But what makes a disagreement, sometimes trivial, degenerates into conflict? What mechanics are in action? Can we curb the disagreement before it’s too late, before stress and irritation get involved

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Whether they’re open, visible or hidden, conflicts are constantly making appearances at work, weakening motivation and efficiency. We can identify 3 main external sources of these conflicts in business: the environment, the organization and the relationships.

At the origin of conflict, there is disagreement. Why do we go from disagreement to conflict? Disagreement is normal and can be constructive, while conflict is not. Disagreement arises from a divergence of interests, values, opinions: we do not think like the other person. And, then, from a simple disagreement, we can slip into conflict when 2 additional criteria come together: ONE, the parties are interdependent and TWO, the negative emotions are revealed. 

The difficulty of measuring the consequences of conflict makes us underestimate its costs. They are much bigger than we think. Managers estimate that they spend 20 to 30% of their time managing conflicts … Conflicts consume time and money and have an impact on HR costs and the incurred legal risks. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of conflict on employees, then on the organization and finally on the manager. 

In Chinese, the word crisis is made up of two ideograms. The first meaning “danger”, the second “opportunity, chance”.  

Our way of perceiving and dealing with conflict will make it either a destructive experience or a constructive one. Let’s observe together how conflict can be an opportunity for everyone if we use it to enrich our perspectives, develop our emotional intelligence and increase cooperation. 

Conflict emerges according to a well-oiled internal mechanism, in 3 stages. We have a presupposition, a certainty of the “I am entitled to this” kind. Then there is an event, a word that we don’t like and that will act as a trigger and will be followed by a reaction, a negative emotion for which we’ll blame others. Let’s study these 3 phases: presupposition, trigger and reaction that pull us into conflict. 

What are the 5 stages of conflict? Disagreement, interpretation, tension, blocking and resolution. I will describe these 5 stages and provide tips on how to get out of the conflict – the possible exit at each of these stages.

Are you trying to diagnose a conflict in order to resolve it? You have to distinguish between 2 essential elements: the problem and the inflation. The initial problem (an organization problem, for example) is the spark; it is not enough to turn into conflict. You need the gas that will allow the fire to spread, to surge. There are two types of gas: avoidance and escalation. 

You are under stress or in conflict and have less and less control over your thoughts, emotions and reactions? 

How can you take back control over your life and rationally manage the stress that burns or inhibits you? 

You will better understand what’s happening within you by familiarizing yourself with your 3 brains: the reptilian brain, the limbic brain and the neo-cortex. So which brain has taken control over your life in the middle of your struggles? 

Pay attention

This course is included in larger courses.

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