Dealing with conflict
However harmonious the general atmosphere, individuals can still take a dislike to one another. And they can still think other people are preventing them from getting something they want. So conflict can still arise.
Derek Rowntree suggests the following ways to handle conflict. As an coach you will develop more advanced skills as you practice coaching skills.
Ignore the conflict for a while in the hope that it will blow over and be forgotten.
Threaten the conflicting staff with some sort of punishment (or withdrawal of rewards).
Persuade them to control their disagreement out of respect for your feelings or the team’s harmony.
Support one side or the other (with or without concessions).
Impose a compromise.
Buy people off – if you give up fighting for that, I’ll give you something else you want instead’.
Get the rest of the team to gang up and suppress the conflict.
N.B. The above approaches sometimes offer short-term relief. But often they merely postpone the day when the conflict re-emerges and has to be dealt with properly. Might you find any of the following approaches more effective?
Separate conflicting staff so that they are no longer working together.
If two people are battling for a reward they believe only one can have, try to find means of enabling both to have the reward if they deserve it.
Help the antagonists to understand one another’s point of view and recognise its validity in the other’s eyes.
Refer the antagonists to some ‘ombudsperson’ in the organisation who is known to provide wise conciliation.
Persuade the conflicting parties to abandon their pursuit of individual goals in favour of some new, common goal that both will agree is more important.
Concentrate on getting the antagonists to work out their own solution rather than pushing your own