It is a well-known well fact that one of the traits which define the working professional is the fact how he/she manages conflict at workplace. The conflict can be due to self-interest, client-interest, and preference towards a set of clients. Then there are also ranges of scope conflicts were people don’t agree on the scope of the project. In the investment business it is more so difficult to manage conflicts. It may be the case that a particular security is offering more commission and hence the professional is offering advice to clients to invest in the same. At the same time may be logically a security A is better than security B, but it is the gut feeling of professional that security B is the right investment destination.
Employees are apprehensive about their ability to perform their daily jobs while coping with learning new tasks, systems and processes. Given that almost everyone has been involved in past (failed) transformation efforts that disrupted how they work, many will not even engage in new efforts. Instead, they will wait for the transformation effort to fizzle out and fail (Dyer, 2015).
The most important skill of effective conflict leaders is their own level of emotional intelligence (EI). It gives them the ability to understand and respond positively to other people's conflict. This research reinforces the position that emotionally intelligent leaders are more likely to lead a transformation to success (compared with those that have lower EI). They are better equipped to handle the conflict that disruptive conflict induces (Antia, 2013).
All conflict requires emotional energy. Conflict used to be much less frequent. Now, it is almost continuous in many organizations. The ability to handle the impact of continuous conflict is crucial to successful transformation. When such ability is absent, employees suffer conflict fatigue.
Transformation often fails because leaders fail to appreciate the impact on employees, which results in conflict fatigue. This leads to conflict resistance. Although people may agree with the rationale for conflict, they feel uncomfortable with the fear and uncertainty over how it will impact them.
However, they fail to address how they will help employees transition through the conflict. This means they also ignore the underlying conflict driving the conflict-resistant behavior. Even worse, if these signs are ignored, then these conflict can fuel the organizational politics that often cause transformation to fail. A recent study showed that the ability to read other people's conflict indirectly predicts annual income, due to greater political savviness and facilitation of other people.
An obvious challenge for global organizations is that employees are often in multiple locations, which makes face-to-face communication and reading facial expressions impossible. However, videoconferencing can be used to as a proxy for face-to-face communication. Highly empathetic individuals perceive when employees complain and appear to resist conflict. The likelihood is that employees feel their input has not been solicited or heard, or that communication regarding the conflict has not addressed the concerns they have raised. This bothers employees because they deeply care about certain issues. By identifying the conflict that are causing the behavior (Wolff, 2013).
Trust is the most important component of any relationship. It can be built by taking an incremental approach to conflict, not by changing too many things at any one time, and by actively listening to and acting on feedback. For example, BT leaders and BP directors might embark on further transformation soon after completing huge projects that have disrupted BP behavior and relationships (Beitler, 2016). If the project has not yet delivered all the benefits as it was originally sold, then it is time to pause and consolidate. If this doesn't happen, then it will impact the potential success of the next transformation (Gross, 2016).
Trust can be built — or rebuilt — through a willingness to show vulnerability. In this scenario, one element of vulnerability may be recognizing past mistakes and explaining how they will be avoided in the future. This requires listening to stakeholders' concerns and ensuring that they have a means of providing input and feedback on the important decisions that will impact them. Never overpromise, but be clear on what can and cannot be done. There are many elements in any project that are unpredictable or uncontrollable. One of the most important, but often overlooked, characteristics of leadership is the ability to deliver bad news with empathy
The leader should establish a norm that, while everyone's ideas should be heard, decisions should be made for the common good, not for the sake of "winning the argument." One way for leaders to do this is by facilitating meetings so that everyone has a chance to voice their ideas and opinions, but then leading the team to agreement, or at least consensus, on a given decision.
Communication and conflict management are just two of the eight competences required for relationship management. It is unlikely that individuals will possess all eight competences, so they should identify the ones they lack and seek coaching to help them improve. An alternative approach is to view these as group competences. A high-performing team would display at least six of the eight competences (Adan, 2014). Emotionally intelligent teams are flexible. Just because someone is designated as the leader doesn't mean that he or she has all the answers. Allowing people to lead according to their competences will not only show EI in its own right, but also be conducive to getting things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Conflict are triggered by an event that affects the team. How those conflict are interpreted by team members depends on their individual EI and the influence of organizational culture. When people take an action or display a particular behavior as a result of the conflict they are feeling, the choice of action and behavior is likely to be influenced by what is deemed to be culturally acceptable (Baan, 2014). Most work environments attempt to suppress overt displays of "unacceptable" conflict, at least for certain groups of people. However, just because people's conflict are not on display doesn't mean they are not feeling them and acting on them (Silvetti, 2014).
The behaviors that individuals exhibit impact relationships between individuals and the environment, which, in turn, can trigger further conflict. This cycle can be positive or negative. Emotionally intelligent leaders aim to drive a positive cycle that reinforces trust (Benner, 2016).
Dyer, B. and Song, X.M., 2015. The relationship between strategy and conflict management: A Japanese perspective. In Proceedings of the 1995 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 126-132). Springer International Publishing
Antia, K.D., Zheng, X. and Frazier, G.L., 2013. Conflict management and outcomes in franchise relationships: the role of regulation. Journal of Marketing Research, 50(5), pp.577-589
Beitler, L.A., Beitler, L.A., Machowski, S., Machowski, S., Johnson, S., Johnson, S., Zapf, D. and Zapf, D., 2016. Conflict management and age in service professions. International Journal of Conflict Management, 27(3), pp.302-330
Gross, M., Wallace, M., Adair, W., Neuman, E., Aarts, N., Ayoko, O., Barry, B., Barsness, Z., Beersma, B., Bies, B. and Amsler, L.B., 2016. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research
Adan, M. and Pkalya, R., 2014. Conflict Management in Kenya-Towards Policy and Strategy Formulation
Wolff, S. and Yakinthou, C. eds., 2013. Conflict management in divided societies: theories and practice. Routledge
Silvetti, M., Alexander, W., Verguts, T. and Brown, J.W., 2014. From conflict management to reward-based decision making: actors and critics in primate medial frontal cortex. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 46, pp.44-5
Baan, C., Bergmüller, R., Smith, D.W. and Molnar, B., 2014. Conflict management in free-ranging wolves, Canis lupus. Animal Behaviour, 90, pp.327-334
Benner, P.W., 2016. Corporate Conflict Management 4.0: Reflections on How to Get There from Here. Browser Download This Paper
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