Have you ever been in a situation where you have watched a conflict emerge and continue for a long time. But for some reason you can’t for the life of you remember why or even what it started over? Even worse, has it ever happened to you?
This blog is all about cluing the world in on one tiny but very important detail.
Conflict is not a function of an issue, problem or challenge. It is a direct result of emotions attached! That is the key to conflict management!
How do we say that?
Let’s talk a little about how conflicts invariably arise. Let me set up a situation for you. Let us step into the conference of XYZ company. There is a meeting happening between the sales team and the finance team with the CEO leading.
The CEO sits at the head. The sales team on one side and the finance team on the other. The meeting begins. The finance team puts forward a documentation that shows that the company expenditure is beginning to get out of control. They say that unless we control the expenditure of the sales team, the direction that the finance of the company takes will not be for the best. On the other hand, the sales team says control what expenditure? We are travelling for the company work. We produce bills for everything. We produce bills for travel expenses incurred in the city. We produce bills for travel to other cities for meetings also. We are given food and stay allowance only when we travel out of the city. What excess expenditure are we costing the company?
Thus begins the conflict! One that seems to have no solution at all. But the solution is not what we are looking for in this blog. We are trying to understand how the conflict began and how it could have been avoided. The obvious answer to the how the conflict began seems to be over the expenditure that was being incurred by the company due to the sales travels, right?
The conflict began not because the finance team put forward the financial documents. The conflict began because finance team indicated that the expenditure incurred by the sales team might be frivolous. That might not be what the finance team wanted to imply but that is what it sounded like to the sales team. The anger stemming from the unfairness of this claim had the sales team reacting the way they did!
The cause for this conflict stemmed from a single emotion, ANGER.
Now it is time to talk a little about this could have been handled better!
THE KEY TO CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
HOW WAS THIS SITUATION HANDLED
The sales team was told rather directly that they were causing a problem with an undercurrent that it might be intentional. Tone of communication was close to accusatory and didn’t leave any room for conversation or understanding.
Conflict between two vital departments of the company.
HOW COULD THIS SITUATION HAVE BEEN HANDLED
The entire conversation could have been led with the preface that the direction of the cash inflow and outflow was becoming a cause for concern. Leading from here, the fact that the expenditure that company was incurring in terms of allowance could be one of the causes behind. The sales team could be involved in better understanding how the allowances are being utilized along with understanding their typical day so that if any changes were brought about then the sales team would not face any challenges.
Solution to the situation. Not conflict
HOW DOES THE “GO TO THE BALCONY CONCEPT APPLY”?
By enabling the conversation to take the route of scenario 2!
The second scenario ensures that the parties involved are looking at the problem objectively with the aim of working towards finding a solution. They do not involve emotions at any level. The finance team works towards finding a solution. The sales team is involved in the solution and are equally involved in enabling the solution. The situation is a WIN WIN which is by far the best approach to conflict management. But this can happen only if the “Go To The Balcony” concept is applied.
What is the go the balcony concept? Check out the video! It is spoken of with regards to the war-torn regions of the world but then again the corporate world is no less of a war zone!