How To Manage Conflict and Encourage Positivity

Conflict is often something that we try to avoid, however it doesn’t always have to be negative. It can even spark new ideas and breakthroughs.

Conflict is often something that we try to avoid. It is often viewed as hostile, frustrating, negative, uncomfortable, and “win or lose” in its outcomes.  Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while maximising the positive aspects.  So, what does it mean when conflict is classified as being “positive”?

Positive conflict does not mean that the conflict was good, but rather that the occurrence of that conflict led to something beneficial. Positive conflict is constructive in nature. It produces new ideas, solves continuous problems, provides an opportunity for people and teams to expand their skills, and fosters creativity. When opposing ideas are explored, a breakthrough of thinking can occur. 

Hiccups, clashes, crisis

Conflicts ebb and flow throughout daily encounters.  

Some are hardly noticeable, whilst others grow into intense disputes that can end in tragedy.  The severity of conflict can be divided into three levels: hiccups, clashes and crises.  It is important to use the right strategy for each level.

To deal with a ‘hiccup’ in the same manner as a crisis would be counterproductive.  After all, you do not use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Hiccups are those conflicts, which are little more than a minor irritation.  Life would be boring without hiccups and they are inevitable.  It is difficult to imagine a day spent with people free from minor annoyances. Hiccups rarely pose a threat to a relationship unless they accumulate and grow into clashes.

Conflict management tips – CUDSA 

This is a systematic approach to managing conflicts (clashes).  The five steps are:

  • Confront the conflict
  • Understand the other’s position
  • Define the problem(s)
  • Search for and evaluate alternative solutions
  • Agree upon and implement the best solution

Taking the following four steps will help you to face up to people in a considerate way. 

  • Pick Your Opportunity 
  • Prepare
  • Pick a Place and Time to Resolve the Conflict 
  • Plan What to Say

Clarify and AGREE – The 7-step procedure for dealing with conflict

After following the 4 Step preparation stages you will be ready the carry out the 7-step procedure for dealing with the conflict.

Clarify the Issue and

  • Ask for the Other Person’s Position
  • Give Your Point of View
  • Go for an agreed Goal
  • Research Alternative Options
  • Evaluate Options
  • Evidence the Effects

Managing conflict does take time, because conflict inevitably means people have been hurt, distressed, disappointed; trust will have been eroded in the other person, and if ineffectively managed, in the manager and the organisation. Businesses lose valuable people needlessly when conflict has been ignored or badly managed. They can also harm their image and discourage employees from speaking positively about their company.

The benefits of conflict management

It is far better for all concerned, and far more cost-effective, to encourage a climate of constructive conflict:

  • Provide line managers with the skills to identify and manage conflict constructively at its earliest level, and the responsibility to do so proactively
  • Managers are not immune. Non-managers have a right to give constructive feedback to a manager if they believe the manager’s behaviour has been inappropriate
  • Employees at all levels need to be able to respond non-defensively to feedback and to see it as an opportunity for personal development. Appropriate performance management is not harassment or bullying
  • Position and train line managers as coaches for a climate of mutual respect
  • Build a climate where respect, courtesy and consideration are the norms
  • Make sure everyone is clear about appropriate behaviour, and what the process is to manage inappropriate behaviour
  • Ensure everyone has a clear mandate to tackle inappropriate behaviour on their own behalf and if they see behaviour they find offensive

Are you ready to take the next steps to manage conflict and encourage positivity?

If you have any questions about conflict management skills, feel free to get in touch with us today. We are more than happy to explain these strategies in more detail to help you manage conflict positively in your daily working life.