Conflict is a difference, a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles or people. In conflict management there are issues that center on interpersonal conflict. This type of conflict is a disagreement between individuals that are connected and explains how what one person does has an impact or effect of the other.
1A PERSONS INVOLVED
Sheila (my assistant for 14 years)
Valerie (hired as Customer Community Relations Representative)
The relationship between these two individuals was great; for 2 years they commonly worked on events together and wouldn’t perceive them as interfering on each other’s turf. Sometimes their workloads would overlap but they were able to work together and get them completed. These two individuals would both work in the same space while engaging in small talk. They often spoke about things each had in common with the other such as their faith, volunteer work, school functions and goals. They acted as though they had never worked together.
!B CONFLICT SCENE
On Feb. 10th I had the opportunity to facilitate a group session of 11 managers at our main office from 3-5pm to discuss people issues. Sheila attended as usually to work the power Point. At the end of the session most of the people who attended wanted copies of the power Point, however if we just printed the power point it would be in black and white. Therefore, Sheila said quote” Simone I need to use the front desk computer to print in color is that O.K.?” I responded “Yes”. During the time Sheila used the computer the people that attended the centralized people meeting was sitting down waiting for their rides. I’m in the conference room packing up while Sheila is getting color printed copies for everyone. This wasn’t something that was planned because it was a holiday.
Sheila and I were supposed to be the only two staff in the office at that time. Ms. Valerie dropped by to pick up some papers from the conference room and says to me Quote” I could have done that presentation for you”. I responded” Really, I didn’t think of that because I’ve always used Sheila assist me. Ms. Valerie then left the room. In my opinion this was an informal act and Ms. Valerie’s interaction with Sheila stem from more personal than official relationship. She was focused on Sheila not on how they work together to get things done. Although most of the people had left there were still a few around and it didn’t look good to observe two leaders of our company having a misunderstanding.
Through the glass doors of the conference room I could see something wasn’t right near the front door. I noticed that all the others were gone except Sheila and Ms. Valerie. I could barely hear but, I could see negative gestures coming from Ms. Valerie. Her body language told me she was angry because she was leaning forward with her hand on her hip. Sheila on the other hand, facial expression was of, oh my god what did I do. She looked uncertain and I could tell didn’t want to argue, she looked as though she wanted to avoid the conflict. I saw her twirl around and walk away. Soon after we left the office but I didn’t speak about.
Until the next day, I received an email from the office manager about the usage of the computers. The words used in the email had a huge impact on the message that I received, I wanted to just bring my keys to the office and never be there alone again. The choice of words was powerful enough to provoke my trust. So powerful I didn’t even respond to the email. I was totally surprised, this has never happened before. I called Sheila and later that day she explained to me the issue between her and Ms. Valerie, that as Ms. Valerie was leaving she made a statement” You know you shouldn’t be on that computer, there could be legal things you shouldn’t be looking at”.
1D SURFACE PROBLEM
In my opinion the surface problem was my choice of words” I always use Sheila to assist me”. The words I used probably made her feel worthless, like she wasn’t good enough. I could have said “Thanks for letting me know I will let you know next time I facilitate a session”. I would also say the problem could stem from Ms. Valerie needing fulfillment, being part of the sessions would give her recognition because she is passionate about her role.
The real problem is that Ms. Valerie is new; she is also the Owners sister and her roles and responsibilities are still unclear and when a person doesn’t have defined responsibilities they tend to want to get into anything to keep busy. Therefore, the Owner needs to make sure that she has a clear cut defined tasks and authority boundaries . In my opinion it wasn’t her place to tell the office manager(Owners Wife) before she actually spoke to myself if she felt that there was some kind of ethic violation.
1F WHICH CONFLICT STRATEGIES WERE EMPLOYED BY EACH PARTICIPANT?
a. Cognitive assessment of the situation
b. Personality and communication competence
No, the next day we both received a text from Ms. Valerie that stated” I TOLD SO WHAT OF IT”. That statement alone confirmed she thought about her own needs and she had dealt with the situation because of who she was related to not her title.
The outcome was negative. The next day there was gossip within the organization and the spread of misinformation. This caused Sheila to call the office and ask who said things about her. Then Ms. Valerie contacted her again and told her she did. There was no winner or loser because the situation tainted both relationships and when they finally appeared in the same room it caused an uncomfortable atmosphere.
In my opinion arguing is normal, but we have to be careful when arguing because sometimes an argument can hide a much bigger problem. The style and the way we argue can speak volumes towards the way we actually feel. The most important aspect of WIN/WIN is how we handle the argument. Therefore, I think that LISTENING, FACE ENHANCING rather than face attacking and UNDERSTANDING the what/why the other person is saying is a major issue.
2A-2B LEARNINGS of CONFLICT
For everything that is still going on wrong with relationships, how we act and think, I am still learning slowly about how to do things better. I am more aware there is some level of differences when the conflict involves two or more people. However, the true disagreement versus what is perceived maybe different from the other person because of our senses. As a matter of fact, this class has taught me that conflict is mostly accompanied by misunderstandings and if we can just understand the truth of the disagreement it will help us solve the right problem and manage the needs of both individuals. This course objectives, lectures and textbook “The essentials of Human Communication” by Joseph DeVito has taught me that perception doesn’t act alone.
It is peoples behaviors, feelings and body language that enhances the threats when there is an disagreement. We must continue to learn how to work on the issues and develop strategies or solutions to manage the disagreement and at the same time manage the conflict. I learned that although this conflict was between two people I was surprisingly a party to it. I just wasn’t included in the disagreement. This conflict was interpersonal. Interpersonal conflict will occasionally happen in the workplace due to natural differences in personalities, beliefs and work ethics. It mostly happens in the workplace and is sometimes more complex because it involves needs, interests, threats and concerns. They also involve ongoing relationships and emotions. This analysis is about an ethical situation that caused an interpersonal conflict which in my opinion was due to jealousy, competition and vicious gossip.
DeVito, J.(2014). Essentials Of Human Communication
Workplace resolution Conflict Strategies