Choosing Your Battles

In: Social Issues

Submitted By emongpogi
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How would you ensure sufficient discussion of contentious issues in a work group? How can managers bring unspoken conflicts into the open without making them worse?

Discussing contentious or controversial topics tend to make people feel awkward talking about it. However, without confronting the stereotypes and personal bias, these unresolved conflicts tend to worsen the situation. Dealing with controversial issues in a constructive manner enables a manager to create a collaborative team environment. As people get comfortable and develop open interpersonal relationships, they exchange different ideas and opinions that typically lead to better decision-making.

Personally, the best way to address conflict is to first gauge the level of contention and to determine whether it should be handled in a group setting or individually. Either way, contentious issues (spoken and unspoken) need to be addressed immediately to allow for a team to function efficiently. The root cause of the problem should be identified through conversation with the appropriate parties in order to explore how best to work towards a resolution. Being a good listener is essential. As a leader, it is important to go in as if you have no idea about the topic (even if you do) so you are able to gain honest feedback without the person or group worrying about possible retaliation. Once the facts are confirmed, a Manager can then contemplate appropriate direction/action. This type of conflict handling intention is considered collaborating, where each party tries to cooperate and search for a beneficial solution or outcome rather than accommodating different points of view. (Robbins& Judge, 2015)
Similar to the leadership style of Nelson Mandela, he allows everyone to air out each other’s opinion/side relating to the issue and then come up with a collective solution to the issue or issues at…...

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