Many people enjoy working or participating in a group or team, but when a group of people work together chances are that conflicts will occur. Hazleton describes conflict as the discrepancy between what is the perceived reality and what is seen as ideal (2007). “We enter into conflicts reluctantly, cautiously, angrily, nervously, confidently- and emerge from them battered, exhausted, sad, satisfied, triumphant. And still many of us underestimate or overlook the merits of conflict- the opportunity conflict offers every time it occurs” (Schilling, nd.). Conflict does not have to lead to a hostile environment or to broken relationships. Conflict if resolved effectively can lead to a positive experience for everyone involved. First, there must be an understanding of the reasons why conflicts occur. The conflict must be approached with an open mind. Using specific strategies can lead to a successful resolution for all parties involved. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument states “there are five general approaches to dealing with conflict. The five approaches are avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise, and collaboration. Conflict resolution is situational and no one approach provides the best or right approach for all circumstances” (Thomas, 2000).
Why Conflicts Occur
Conflict can occur anywhere from the around the water cooler or in the meeting on how the team will reach their goal. Many things a day can lead to a small or large conflict. It is important to remember that conflict is a natural part of life and everyone will experience conflict at some time when participating on a team.
Opinions and Beliefs
Everyone brings his or her opinions and beliefs to a group setting. Each member brings everything they have learned or belief to be true. This includes their view on other people, race, politics, religion, cultural and gender differences. Keeping all these in mind can lead to the best solution to solve the conflict.
Change and Expectations
People do not always adjust well to change. Oftentimes when change occurs, conflict will arise. The new boss on the job or the new member of the team may be the change that brings a conflict. Expectations if not set clearly and held to standard can also lead to conflict among the team. Expectations must be set from the beginning. Expectations must also be clear and it must be verified that each team member understands the expectations. If a short coming on the expectations occurs, then action must be taken immediately. If no action is taken this could be understood as silent approval and team members will believe that the expectation is no longer important or required. When conflict does occur, the five models set out in The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument sets the standards for resolving the conflict.
Avoidance is defined as “an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something” (Merriam-Webster.com). Avoidance...