Our recent poll on How do you resolve conflict in your organisation threw up some interesting comments, like “Get as many people on your side…then take a vote” from Roger Patron. A tongue in cheek a view of office politics perhaps but is it closer to the bone than we think?
The poll results:
Team Building (32%)
Good old team building – you can always rely on a rope-swing or two to fix behavioural and attitudinal problems within a team. Like training, team-building should be used for what it is designed for – team-building, not team-fixing.
Meeting with HR (28%)
A typical approach that involves a (hopefully) trained professional becoming counsellor for the parties involved. Like other areas these days (recruitment, development etc) line managers are putting more and more responsibility on HR to solve their problems.
As Toby Holt, Insolvency Manager at Smith & Williamson, says, “Try and talk with those involved and encourage them to work out the issues themselves. If they can’t do that try and show them some ways of avoiding conflict. If that doesn’t work then get HR involved. After that…should they be working for your organisation???”
Is it a good sign that training is one of the least popular choices? The common start-point with training is to identify a weakness and fix it. With conflict resolution, the people involved are already in a negative place, so why compound it with training?
Leave ’em to it (3%)
The old-school ‘sink or swim’ approach. Leaving conflict unresolved can build up pressure and when pressure gets too much it turns into stress. Stress can lead to illness and illness leads to a) unhealthy employees b) unnecessary cost for organisations c) increased pressure for those who are left!
Various comments were left:
- “Clear communications, gain feedback, nip things in the bud”
- “Direct communication with involved parties and mediation with percieved mediation ‘champions’ within the organisation”
- “Talk it through with all parties”
- “I believe it really depends on what the conflict is, and how it manifests. There are no hard and fast rules about what to do – sometimes swift intervention is needed, while at other times leaving it to those in conflict to resolve is a great idea. It really depends on the situation.”
- “Six Thinking Hats of course!”
This is to be expected with various business across the world using their own culture, management style & techniques.
It is clear that conflict resolution needs swift action and understanding. However, prevention is better than cure. Teaching people how to identify problems areas before they occur will generate a much more positive culture.
In 2011 The McQuaig System is adding a peer-to-peer report. This new report help two individuals (regardless of seniority & pay grade) work better together.