Guest post: 10 successful ways to deal with conflicts when there is no HR

by Michael Haberman on November 28, 2017 · 0 comments


What do you do when there is no HR department to call?

Today’s guest post is written by Asma Niaz, who brings us a more global view than I typically present. Educated in Pakistan and working out of the United Arab Emirates she does not have my U.S. centric point of view, yet what she presents is “universal” in dealing with people. She offers suggestions for how a company should deal with HR situations when there is no HR professional. 

Resolving conflicts in a positive manner can lead to efficient professional and personal relationships. Nowadays almost every organization runs with an HR. However, there are several startups and small entities that cannot initially afford an HR for the business. The main proficiency an entrepreneur must have is business insight. Securing that, thereof and with precise professional expertise and negotiation skills, an entrepreneur can lead a small organization effectively without the need for an HR. The management should be equipped with negotiation, interpersonal and conflict resolution skills for the organization to flourish when there is no HR. This can mainly be done by establishing roles and responsibilities for each employee, understanding motivation factors of each employee, minimizing conflict of interest, maintaining disciplined attention, good communication and active listening among the co-workers.

Establishing roles and responsibilities

With clearly defined roles and responsibilities in place, the chances of conflicts can be minimized considerably. In this scenario, however, a conflict arises, can be worked into a positive conflict. Positive conflict is when there is a disagreement but the team members are willing to resolve it by discussing their differences and reaching a suitable agreement. Some conflicts are inevitable among co-workers; the way that the conflicts are resolved is important.

Awards, recognition and eliminating biases

Praising individuals justly is important to avoid conflicts in the workplace. Staff in one team or of a particular category of staff may be treated in a biased manner affecting terms of rewards, perquisites, job designations and working conditions.

Minimizing conflict of interest

Management must use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model in order to realize the different factors of the motivation of each employee and therefore awards them with the relevant benefits. If such a conflict of interest arises, this may lead to demotivation among staff and jealousy among the team members which can be a stepping stone to conflicts in the workplace.

Reaching an optimum solution

Using Thomas and Kilmann’s ‘accommodating style’ and ‘collaborative style’ of dealing with conflict which aims for a win-win and relies on strong leadership. It also indicates a focus on satisfying the needs of the counterparty ahead of one’s own needs. These can be used to bring both parties to an optimum solution. The management must first understand the nature of the conflict, be it intra-individual conflict or inter-group conflict

Maintain disciplined attention

The leader must get conflict out into the open and use this as a source of creativity and utilize it for the benefit of the organization. Constructive conflict among individuals can lead to collaboration, agreement, and betterment of the individuals and the organization as a whole. The leaders that are most likely to succeed are those that make their followers aware of their responsibilities and expectations.

Good communication

In an effective workplace environment, co-workers must communicate with each other and keep each other well-informed. Further, a leader must use the democratic style of leadership, as explained in Lippitt and White’s leadership styles, where he must offer guidance and encouragement to his team while also being aware of his team members. Effective negotiators are able to listen actively, “read between the lines”, as one may call, in order to resolve the conflict. This helps the negotiator identify the areas of compromise in the meeting. The good negotiator must also be able to communicate their reasoning as well as their desired outcome in order to motivate both parties to settle.

Mutual support and team spirit

In an effective organization, there are departments and teams whose work is specialized according to their department function. In an effective team, team members must identify themselves as part of the team and each team member is aware of the contributions provided by other team members. This results in strong team spirit and team loyalty.

Negotiation and conflict resolution

The management must utilize integrative bargaining approach instead of distributive bargaining, in which there is a mutual advantage approach i.e. win-win approach. The latter signifying self-interest and a win-lose approach. The management must be well-equipped with negotiation skills such as problem analysis, active listening, verbal communication, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, emotional control, collaboration and teamwork, decision-making ability, ethics and reliability, good body language and no hurry to close the deal.

Avoiding ‘deadlock’

The management shall put serious efforts to avoid deadlock in negotiations. This mainly appears when the negotiation is in an advanced state to a point of no resort. The actions that can be operated in order to circumvent deadlock in the final stages of  the negotiation process are:

  1. Comprehensive and convincing explanations can be offered as to why the concessions sought by the other party cannot be accepted.
  2. Expressing willingness to review the matter or concessions pursued by the other party in the future.
  3. While attempting to finalize the main contract, providing an ancillary contract consisting additional advantages in the future for both parties
  4. During the final phases, subtly stating the consequences, must the negotiation fail and emphasizing the advantages to both parties leading them to a win-win.

Adapting to the organizational culture

The diversity within the organization can also lead to conflicts in the workplace. Cultural differences can be minimized when the teams feel as part of a larger community and accept each other. This can be done when the management demonstrates such an example and further cherishes the cultural diversity within the workplace out in the open.

Conflict among the staff can adversely affect the quality of service and personal effectiveness and may further deteriorate the workplace environment. However effective conflict resolution can bring radical changes, open communication, improved dialogue, improved customer service, encourage innovation and result in constructive levels of tension within the organization.

Author Bio:     

Asma Niaz is an Academic writer at Zoe Talent Solutions who loves to write stellar content on various educational topics, programs, trainings and courses. Zoetalentsolutions is the world’s premium place, which offers a highly professional hr courses to excel at your workplace.


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