Either latent or exposed – conflicts are constantly existing in our life. Conflicts are inevitable all around as the darkness at night. Conflict occurs at global, national, social, or even in our personal life. We can neither avoid nor refuse disputes, but we can take all preparations to manage them well. Conflicts are primarily of two types: inner and outer. Internal conflicts occur within our minds when life experiences do not match what we believe. It is mostly a psychological phenomenon that arises from the imbalance between our assumptions and realities. It often causes spiritual stress. A leader must resolve the inner conflict that eats him before focusing on his outer areas. An external dispute arises when some people or groups try to take advantages that may have perceived or actual adverse effects on others. Silent conflicts often act as the seeds of violence and destruction. Hence, you need to learn conflict management and its reduction process within your team, groups, organizations, and beyond to achieve higher leadership success.
Conflicts may exist between persons or groups within the same organization. Disputes among people make the team, organization, and society weaker, lower productive, and insecure. Conflicts within the group provoke people to get apart and cause disharmony. A leader’s success and acceptance largely depend on his ability to keep people free from the risk of violence or conflicts. As a leader, your responsibility is to reduce conflicting contexts, manage conflicting situations effectively through system analysis, appropriate corrections in the procedure, and by creating a positive leadership environment. Conflict management needs your superior social awareness and social skills.
Conflict may arise even when you try to keep your man contented and planning to provide some extended welfares or amenities. You may allocate some favors equally for all yet become the cause of discontentment for a few people. You may distribute justly, yet few people may feel unjust. To deal with such contexts, always maintain an organizational principle while resource distribution, facilities, amenities, tasks, and responsibilities to prevent unwanted dismay among your men. Exceptions are sometimes necessary but should not be made in public.
People become effective in leading when they can successfully help conflicting groups coming out from disputes and tie them up with mutual interests. In the face of unavoidable clashes, your priority is to hold the conditions so that conflicting parties do not engage in ferocity since violence causes conflict management entirely critical.
As an efficient conflict manager, you need to find out the root causes of conflicts as the first step. Listen to all parties and understand their perspectives, emotional concerns, and necessities. If necessary, arrange dialogue among parties and be fair with all. During the dialogue, help them get their emotions in check if there is a heated disagreement between people and allow them time to cool down. If there is a way to find a win-win scenario, do your best to negotiate issues. Howard M. Guttman, pointed out the importance of leaders’ behaviors during conflict management in his famous writing Leaders’ Role in Conflict Management. He outlined the following most expected attitude of any leader who is dealing with the conflict management process:
- Leaders need to be candid about their unbiased role and must not hesitate to put issues on the table which need to the discussed with parties.
- Leaders should make a suitable environment while making dialogue to assure all about the respect of their opinions and necessities.
- Leaders must remove personal feelings, emotions, and views over the conflicting situation and consider it holistically.
- Leaders should actively listen to all so that people who have come with hope feel respected.
- Leaders need to make sure that all members understand the decision-making process and are ready to accept the final decision.
- Leaders must prevent people from “ganging up” on others when they disagree. Discussion must possess respect for each other.
- Leaders should have the capability to follow through with implementing their decisions and hold people responsible for their irrelevant actions.
Foster the conflict reduction, and address conflicting issues at the earliest. Be kind to all parties and display respect for their emotions.
 Guttman, Howard M. People, and Strategy; New York Vol. 32, Iss. 1, (2009): 32-39.