Every organization apparently has internal communications problems and comflicts between various individuals and groups. As a result, the effectiveness of the organization suffers and unnecessary strain is placed on individuals. Managers and non-managers usually find these the most difficult, nebulous, and frustrating of all their problems and challenges. Most often they feel they don’t know how to handle them in a fully satisfactory way. To improve the abilities to manage communications and conflict, first we need to find out how the problems happen.
There are powerful forces that account for the virtual universality of communication and conflict problems in organizations. The first is our communications are extremely complex processes. People communicate in individual secret codes made up of words, voice tones, body signals, facial expressions, movements, feelings, styles of grooming and dress. Each is unique to the individual and every person relies on a different combination. And there is much room for error to understand another person. Secondly, we are taught to be “Polite”, have the “Right personality”, manipulate ourselves and others, and play roles.
Thirdly, we fear and avoid conflict. People fear conflict, fear that it will destory working relationship. In a sense, we do need to be careful of it because most of us are not taught how to handle it skillfully. The fourth is we draw conclusions, make assumptions, evaluate and judge rather than observe behavior and report what we see, hear, and feel. The fifth is we usually aren’t well in touch with ourselves. Our own stereotypes, daydreaming, fantasizing and so on. To know and understand others, we must know and understand ourselves.
And the last one is we lack skills. We generally lack collaborative skills and we have well-developed competitive skills which get in the way of communication. Fortunately, we can learn new ways and skills to greatly improve our ability to communicate and utilize conflict. There are many approaches. Basically, to improve yourself you can increase your knowledge of people and how they communicate, you can increse your self understanding, you can learn new skills and sharpen those you already process, and you can get professional, on the job training and help.
This is probably the easiest approach you can take. To increase your awareness of yourself is the most useful, significant and far-reaching action you can take. Also, depending on how deeply you are willing and able to explore, by far the most difficult. You will need help to see yourself. It can be participate in OD training, such as teambuilding, conflict management, intergroup development. Also you can take a laboratory training cours or take an advanced lab course, there are many varieties.
Many skills can be learned to enhance your ability, most are easy to understand and hard to learn because they require breaking old habits, attitudes or behavior. To increase your communcations and conflict management skills, you can: ?Learn to pay more attention to what you are feeling in your body. Whether or not you ar in touch with your feelings, they have a lot to do in determing how well you communicate and interact with others. ?Learn to accept people as they are. Don’t except them to be rational, logical or objective in your view all the time.
Become aware that everyone is rational from his/her point of view. So by learning to accept others and trying to understand their views, you undersanding will increase. ?Assume communication is very difficult and work at it. Take responsibility for making communication happen. We tend to assume that since we’ve been communicating all our lives, we know how. ?Learn to listen actively. Listening is probably the most important skill in communication and probably the easiest to improve. We need to learn to listen for understanding.
Listening for understanding means listening, without evaluating, both to words and for feelings. Communication problems are inevitable and conflict is natural. Major conflicts usually develop from small issues. It is a part of communications important enough to highlight, it’s the little thighs that count. Effectively managed, conflict is a very positive factor in organizations—a factor essential to full effectiveness and creativeness. Rather than to be avoided, it needs to be promoted.