Learn to Resolve Conflict Today to Improve Your Career for Tomorrow

Posted February 20, 2015 by
Man told off by woman - isolated on white

Man told off by woman – isolated on white. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Conflicts are inevitable in business. Whether it’s between colleagues, your boss or a client who isn’t pleased, resolving conflict early is paramount.

The good news is that it’s one of the important interpersonal skills that can be worked on. Even with a lot of practice, conflict is rarely evereasy due to the strong negative emotions involved.

Conflict management is a difficult skill to develop for those who naturally avoid conflicts. Avoiding a conflict may make you feel more comfortable in the short term, but will only create additional issues in the long term.

In order to best deal with conflict, you must have a strong conflict management style and approach in order for both parties to walk away as if they’ve walked away feeling good.

Unresolved or ignored conflict will only breed further conflict and potentially a real problem if neither party addresses the situation directly. This is true for all aspects of life, but if one cannot resolve a conflict at work, it will be detrimental to one’s career aspirations. Here are four types of conflicts that may occur in a business setting:

Personal Conflict: This conflict occurs on a personal level between two people. Conflicts of this nature can spark from such things as personality incompatibilities and gender or racial differences. Personal conflicts can get nasty very quickly and must be addressed before they get out of hand.

Leadership Conflict: Leadership conflict is an issue with a supervisor, manager or any other higher up. Many people who have a problem with their leader never bring up the issue. Ignoring the problem out of fear of dismissal or unfair treatment are two common reasons. Learning how to give and receive feedback, even if it’s negative, goes hand in hand with leadership conflict issues.

Group Work Conflict: Group conflict is a conflict between two or more people involving work-related issues. A good example of when this happens is on a group project where each person has a particular job. If one person doesn’t carry their weight, a conflict will occur when others in the group have to compensate for the instigators lack of work.

Organization Conflict: Organization conflict is conflict stemming from a lack of agreement in business matters involving company goals, productivity issues, distribution of funding, etc. This conflict occurs between owners, managers, CEO’s and any other person who is higher up in the business and is part of management.

When a conflict occurs, in any of the four situations, people tend to turn the problem into a win or lose situation if they don’t have the right conflict management skills.

Learning how to develop a compromise between individuals or a group can be difficult path to navigate, but it’s an invaluable soft skill to develop if you plan on rising above middle management. Conflict management never goes away, in fact it becomes even more important as one advances into the career. So figure out how to best manage conflict now because it won’t be any easier for your career if you choose to avoid it.

Lei Han is a Stanford Engineer with a Wharton MBA. She is the founder of BeMyCareerCoach.com with over 15 years of business experience. Lei has written about soft skills development and career success since 2009 and is passionate in helping professionals work smart and achieve success.You can follow her on Twitter @bemycareercoach.

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