|Transportation Officials Learn About Benefits of Conflict Resolution Skills|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:19|
Disagreements happen every day, especially at the workplace. Mark Hinson, chief of HR for Adams 12 Five Star Schools in Thornton, Colo., said that's OK as long as the conflict is healthy and immediately addressed rather than avoided. But often conflict is allowed to fester and grow like a disease.
He and Mark Deschaine, teacher consultant at Genessee Intermediate School District in Michigan, told TSD Conference attendees in Frisco, Texas, on Monday that supportive tension is good for transportation departments because it increases awareness of issues or challenges or sheds light on a growing workplace problem. Where conflict can be detrimental is when it resorts to name calling, personal attacks, the formation of cliques or results in gossip, rumors and a general lack of mutual respect.
Deschaine said today's social networking environment, where employees can air their "dirty laundry" on Facebook and other websites, is not helping matters. As a result, employee morale and productivity can suffer, and there are indicators to be on the look out for, such as when reliable staff members suddenly become distant, despondent or "check out" at work.
"Managers must learn to deflate conflicts," said Hinson. "It's not going away on its own."
Deschaine added that conflict resolution, and even the quick identification of it, are often overlooked skills for managers. And the legal risks for companies, school districts and other organizations can be enormous when conflict spills over to workplace violence.
"You were put on notice but you didn't do anything about it," he said.
When bad conflict arises, Hinson and Deschaine said it must be resolved quickly. That includes focusing on the problem, being open to all possible solutions, acknowledging the feelings of the employees and active listening When bad conflict arises, they said it must be resolved quickly. That includes focusing on the problem, being open to all possible solutions, acknowledging the feelings of the employees and active listening.
Hinson and Deschaine presented five specific ways to handle conflict, those being competition, or unilateral decision making; collaboration; compromise; avoidance, or the active decision to delay or deflect decision because the consequences are so minor or are non-work related; and accommodation, when one side allows the other to "win" to maintain perspective or peace in the organization or to create. Once the conflict resolution technique technique is identified, there are also several things that should not happen.
The presenters said the focus should not be on individual personality traits that cannot be changed. There should also be no interruptions or personal attacks, and everyone's feelings should be taken into consideration. Emotions should remain out of the resolution as should personal beliefs and values. Only then can the disagreement be clarified through the establishment of common goals. The team must first discuss ways to meet those goals and in doing so determine the barriers and agree on the best way to solve the issue. Ultimately, the agreed solution must be acknowledged by all those involved.
"How are we going to get beyond what's going on now?" asked Hinson. "You have to hold people accountable."
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 12:12|