Conflict in inevitable. No matter what type of job you are in, at
one time or another, you will be faced with conflict. How you handle
that conflict, the choices that you make, can have a distinct impact
on your relationships with others and on your career.
The work world of today is more stressful than ever. Often,
individuals with competing goals lay yourself open to conflict as
they seek recognition. In addition, the goals of individuals are
sometimes out of sync with the company mission - this occurs when a
company fails to communicate shared values. Increased market
pressure requires decisions to be made today, not tomorrow, often
with limited evidence to review. All of this creates a highly
charged environment that is ripe for conflict to occur.
There are a variety of styles for addressing conflict discussed in
the text - withdrawal, accommodation, forcing, compromising and
collaboration. Most of us rely on one or two of these strategies and
apply them to all conflicts we face vs. examining situational
factors in choosing a strategy. Recognizing that there is a time and
a place for each of these is important to understanding conflict
There will be times when you need to give constructive feedback to
team mates, subordinates or even a superior. Knowing how to give
constructive criticism can be the difference between a successful
conflict interview or a failure. One method for communicating
constructive criticism is to create a feedback sandwich.
Start and end your comments with something positive and sandwich the
criticism in between. People tend to focus on what they hear first
and last, so this is a good strategy for managing the relationship
impact of giving constructive feedback.
Give the feedback as close in time
to the behavior as possible.
Imagine disciplining your child six weeks after he/she wrote on the
wall with a crayon. That would not be very effective. Providing
constructive feedback to subordinates or teammates is no different.
If it is worth addressing, it should be addressed in a timely
When language is used that puts the receiver on the defense right
from the start, the focus on this issue is lost and it becomes
personal. Instead of "you" are the problem, phrase it, "we" have a
impact that the behavior has on others and on company goals.
Sometimes people fail to see the big picture - pointing that out can
help a person to see why certain rules, methods or procedures are
important. If they are important, they are more likely to comply.
This will also allow the receiver to save face.
Ensure that the
receiver understands your feedback. Sometimes a person may be
unclear even after you have explained it. He/she may be hesitant to
ask questions for fear of reprisal. Leaving the conflict interview
assured that there was a mutual understanding is a foremost
Work together to
identify useful solutions.
The point of giving constructive criticism is to help the receiver
to improve. Since hiring and training new employees is very costly,
it makes good business sense to manage relationships with good
employees with care. Demonstrating your investment in a mutual
solution, will ultimately demonstrate respect for the receiver which
is important to the maintenance of the relationship.
By Aseriah Jordan
Aseriah is a senior writer at Shiba Resume and
has written over 300 professional, entry-level, and recent graduate
resume. His clients have had an incredible successful interview
landing rate of 97.26%. If you are in need of a professional resume
writing service or more about this article's topic go to