Conflicts are definitely inevitable among humans. Consequently because of our diversities in character, temperaments, opinions, ideas, backgrounds, religions and beliefs. However, when conflicts ensues, it shouldn’t be allowed to deteriorate. Necessary measures must be taken to ameliorate its effect and totally resolve it. It doesn’t matter who’s involved, what matters is preventing a total breakdown of law and order, and finding ways to bring the lost peace. Here are 6 ways conflicts can be managed and controlled in order to prevent it from escalating to hopeless situation.
1. INVESTIGATE: This is the first step that should be taken to discover the root cause of the conflict. Investigation is a necessary tool that should be employed in managing and resolving any conflict, this is important because, before you can properly deal with a problem and get a result or solution, you must first of all dig deep to decipher the root cause of that problem. conflict investigation helps to bring out or determine the root cause of the conflict, so that you can tackle it from the root. It helps you to be aware of the nature of the problems and the challenges of the conflicting parties, in order to make necessary decisions that will help to bring about a lasting solution. Failure to investigate thoroughly, the cause of the conflict, will definitely not bring a radical solution. This investigation must be carried out by a neutral body, a body not part of the conflicting parties, and unbiased. In an organization, a committee could be set up, either from within the organization or outside the organization, but such committee must not be involved in the conflict, in order to make a genuine, thorough and unbiased investigations and findings. This will definitely help to tackle the conflicts from the root and make efficient conflict resolution.
2. MITIGATE: Necessary steps must be taken to mitigate the impacts of the conflict. This is very essential, especially in an organization that depends solely on the strength of its workforce for efficiency. Mitigation is a very important tool in conflict management and control, it will help to lessen the negative impacts of the conflict and prevent it from deteriorating. This can be done by the management of that organization, by looking into ways of cushioning the effects of the conflicts on its activities and productivity. Although, mitigation is an interim measure for conflict management and control, but it is absolutely helpful in preventing a total collapse of the existing organizational structures and productivity. Hence it should be used as a short-term tool for conflict management and control, to help prevent total breakdown of the organization’s productivity. However, the long-term measures to resolve the conflict should also be considered during this process of mitigation, as the short-term approach only paves the way for the total control and resolution of the conflict.
3.DIALOGUE: This is obviously the most essential tool in trying to resolve or manage any conflict. The main challenge in using this tool is getting the two conflicting parties to sit together, discuss and resolve their differences. Because, if these two antagonistic parties can sit down on a round table to discuss their differences, then i believe that the problem is half solved. Dialogue should be the first approach in resolving a conflict, and not the use of force, especially when such conflict is between a higher and a lower cadre, between an employer and an employee, or between a management of an organization an its entire workers. In this stage, the two parties has to respect the views and opinions of each other, and avoid exercising authority or superiority in order achieve their aim of resolving the conflicts.
4.ACCOMMODATE: For conflicts to be effectively managed and controlled, the conflicting parties must learn to accommodate each others views, differences and opinions. They have to understand that we all have differences, and should be able to manage those differences. Trying to impose your own opinions, views or ideas on others will definitely not augur well for both parties, and will also hinder the process of peaceful negotiation. For the dialogue to yield the desired result, and the conflict resolved amicably, both parties must be able to accommodate, accept and respect their differences. It should be a win-win situation and not a win-loose type.
5.MEDIATE: Sometimes, mediation could also be a useful tool in conflict management and resolution. Mediation is useful, especially in situations where all effort by the two conflicting parties to resolve the conflict among themselves has become a futile effort. In this case, a third party may be called upon to broker peace between them and find ways of resolving the conflict. This third-party must be neutral and unbiased and must not come from either of the parties involved in the conflict. The aim of this third-party should be to find out the cause of the conflict from both sides, resolve the conflict and also reconcile them. Mediation is also very necessary in bringing both parties for dialogue, because someone has to set the pace and initiate the process of dialogue, because the main challenge is getting both parties to sit down and negotiate.
6.ARBITRATION: This is the final conflict management and resolution tool often used mostly by industries, organizations, government and labour unions to resolve conflicts. This tool is often employed when every attempt had been made using the above five tools to resolve it have proved abortive. The court of arbitration which has the jurisdiction of judging and resolving any organizational conflict can therefore be approached. But in using this tool, one must expect a win-loose situation, such that one party must definitely be compensated at the expense of the other party. It is definitely one way of resolving organizational conflicts, between government and labour and the management of any industry and their workforce.