All of us experience conflict. We argue with our spouses, disagree with our friends, and sometimes even quarrel with strangers at a hockey game. At times we lose sight of the fact that all this conflict is normal. So long as people are individuals there will be the potential for conflict.
That’s the first thing to learn about conflict. It isn’t wrong or bad; it’s just part of being a person in contact with other people.The only people who don’t experience conflict are hermits. Since you can’t prevent conflict, the most important thing is to learn how to handle or manage it in productive ways. In many industries, the amount of time spent on conflict management is surprisingly high. Studies show that managers spend at least 24% of their time on managing conflict. Hospital administrators, school administrators, mayors and city managers spend even more time on this problem area.
What is critical for resolving conflict is developing an understanding of, and a trust in, shared goals. It requires openness, discipline, and creativity. Showing respect for other people and not blaming them enables people to work for mutual benefit. There are no magical phrases or simple procedures for managing conflict. However, there are several strategies for coping with conflict. Knowing when and how to use these techniques can make you a more effective leader.