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Conflict Management Essay

1377 words - 6 pages

Conflict Management can often be the toughest task for a leader to handle. It involves dealing with inter-personal and intra-personal conflict. As a team leader of a technical event called Pulse’09 at my university, I had to deal with conflicts on a regular basis. Conflicts usually arise either due to lack of effective communication, different ideologies, lack of resources or due to task interdependence [3]. It was by far my most life changing experience as it taught me the reason behind conflicts and the way to resolve them. In this paper, I will be talking about the way I dealt with conflicts and managed them, the impact they had on the team performance and what I could do to improve my leadership by contrasting my experience to the class readings.
When I was elected as the team leader of Pulse’09, the feeling was unsurmountable. Had I known the responsibilities that came along with being a leader, I definitely would be feeling something else. Every year a new team along with its leader was elected. In the first team meeting itself, I realized the need for a definite ‘goal’ to be set for giving a sense of direction to the team members. Additionally, I felt the best way to enjoy the experience of Pulse’09 would be by dividing the entire team into smaller groups that focused on a particular task. This way not only the final goal would be achieved effectively, but also members would get to know each other closely. Thus, after the first informal meeting I placed the team members into groups of three and allotted them specific tasks. The tasks were small goals that the individual groups needed to accomplish in order to reach the final goal; which was essentially the success of Pulse’09. But what I didn’t know was the criticality of all aspects of ‘Team Development Stages’; i.e. forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning [2]. I had conveniently forgotten to enforce norms in team meetings due to which the later stages; i.e. the performance of my entire team was affected to a great extent.
The team meetings were mostly spent in resolving conflicts between the individual group members. The conflicts were less personal and more task oriented [3] as the groups had individuals that had zero experience and didn’t know each other previously. The reason behind the conflicts was mainly due to communication gaps between the members, unfamiliarity with the available resources for the event and task interdependence within the groups. After several such conflict-based meetings, I decided that it was time for me as a leader to think what was going so wrong. We were just two months away from the day of the main event and I knew I had miserably failed somewhere. I reflected upon every conflict that I had encountered in all the meetings till date and tried to analyze the root cause behind them. Having given it some deep thought, I realized that I needed to enforce norms in the following meetings that would have a direct impact on the group performance and...

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