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Conflict Management

Definition:  Identifies and takes steps to prevent potential situations that could result in unpleasant confrontations.  Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a positive and constructive manner to minimize negative impact.

Ideas for Developing this Competency: 

  • Identify an effective process for managing conflict and use it.  Track your success.
  • Attend public meetings to observe how conflicts can be handled in a public session. 
  • Interview individuals who are professional mediators and people skilled in alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
  • Talk with EEO counselors, union negotiators, or labor mediators.
  • When a conflict situation arises, discuss it with your supervisor and document it.  Next, ask for feedback on how you handled it. 
  • Get as much information as you can about the motives, knowledge, understanding, and attitudes of those with whom you are negotiating. 
  • Develop an open dialogue with the individuals involved in the conflict. 
  • Deal with causes of conflict, not the symptoms. 
  • Determine whether the conflict is being caused by differences in goals, competition for resources, failure in communication, misinterpretation of information, disagreement over performance standards, or incongruities in the organizational structure. 
  • Make every attempt to keep employees motivated and involved in the work unit by jointly exploring how the source of conflict can be remedied. 
  • Engage in active listening to understand precisely what your counterpart's minimum requirements are in order to forge an agreement. 
  • Understand the views of people on both sides of a conflict.
  • Use a mediator to help you resolve conflicts. 
  • Read Getting to Yes and Getting Past No by Roger Fisher.
  • Volunteer to officiate at a youth sporting event.

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