Join Craig Runde for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a constructive climate, part of Improving Your Conflict Competence.
- We've discussed expanding your conflict competence to help others manage conflict more effectively. The next step is creating an environment or climate for your team and organization that will support and reinforce people's ability to actively use their new conflict skills. In this video, we'll look at what it takes to create the right climate for managing conflict in groups. First, we'll look at developing trust. Second, we'll address enhancing collaboration.
And third, we'll talk about improving emotional intelligence. In each part, we'll look at creating norms to support conflict competence. People tend to talk less with each other when they're in conflict. Yet, it takes open and honest communications to work through conflict. The first element needed to enhance communications is trust. Trust involves being willing to be vulnerable, when expressing your thoughts and feelings in conflict settings. If people feel what they say now will be used against them later, they'll be hesitant to share their thoughts.
So creating a norm that fosters being open and honest with one another, and it rejects using what someone says against them later, is important. The second point involves improving the collaborative spirit of a group. The technical term for this is "behavioral integration." When information is shared with everyone in the group, and everyone is allowed to have input into decisions, it enhances the sense of collaboration. When people work together on projects and share rewards as a group, they feel closer to one another.
They believe they're working together, and have each other's interests in mind. When conflict emerges in these groups, people are more willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Fostering norms which increase collaboration will help a group address conflict better. The third item concerns increasing the emotional intelligence of the group. It's important for members of a team or a group to be aware when things start to go wrong. When individuals begin to feel angry or upset, it's important to address the matter.
Otherwise these negative emotions can spread to others, and create an environment where people pull back in order to protect themselves. Ignoring these emotions doesn't make them go away. Addressing them can help calm things down and improve everyone's ability to listen carefully, and create solutions to their common problem. Developing a norm that acknowledges emotions, and recognizes the importance of addressing them, will help prevent a group from avoiding an issue.
Creating and enforcing norms that help promote open and honest communications makes it easier for individuals to respond to conflict in a constructive manner. If your group doesn't already have norms for addressing conflict, encourage members to develop them. A good first step involves asking members of the group, "How do we want to treat each other "when conflicts arise?" Write down approaches that you agree on, and talk about how to ensure that all members of the group live up to the points of agreement.
By developing norms that promote trust, collaboration, and emotional intelligence, you can help your group create the right climate for managing conflicts effectively.