Conflict…know when and how to resolve it

 

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At some point in life everybody has experienced some form of conflict. For most people it probably wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I personally used to hate any form of conflict. I felt the best way to deal with it was to leave it and wait until it resolved itself.  Now I’m not saying this is the worst approach but sometimes you have deal with conflict whether you like it or not.

It’s about understanding which conflict needs which resolution in the workplace.  Kenneth Wayne distinguished five conflict resolution approaches a person could take to resolve a problem and then I put in my two cents. Here they are:

Competing/forcing- Only one party wins here and the other party is left feeling defeated. This is sometimes necessary like when a quick decision is needed or when something unpopular needs implementing.

Avoiding- As I said earlier this was the approach I used for every conflict. But sometimes it is important for people to take this approach, particularly when the issue is trivial or when the potential disruption to the workplace outweighs the resolution.

Compromising- Both parties try to reach an agreement quickly. This can be used as a temporary measure and can be revisited later. This should be used when there is something more important.

Accommodating- This is probably me too because I never want to upset the other person, (my mum always said I was the most sensitive one). Not a lot of people tend to use this approach because they view it as a sign of weakness, but understanding that sometimes the issue in hand is more important to the other person than you. It also helps you build a good working relationship for the future.

Collaborating- Solve the problem together. I believe in a perfect work we would all use this approach in the workplace. The key to this method is to understand that people with different perspectives can offer different insight on an issue. This is often best used when you want to learn from the experience.

I’d love to hear your view on how conflict should be resolved in the workplace. Have you previously had any conflict in your workplace? If so, how did you resolve it? Did you use any of these approaches?

Negotiation….Bargaining like a Boss

In my previous post I discussed how it was possible to negotiate your first salary. If you’ve not read it already, take a look, you might find it helpful. In this post I’d like to delve deeper into the negotiation process. One of the modules I’m currently studying at university required us to present a simulation of how we would run a workshop for managers; on dealing with negotiation or conflict in the workplace.

I think this is quite an interesting topic because conflict and negotiation in some form or another arises in the workplace but it isn’t always dealt with in the best way. After an initial discussion with my group, we decided to base our simulation on how to negotiate successfully. After researching lots of material, we found a case study which we would act out to demonstrate to the managers how they might negotiate successfully in the work place.

This was the scenario we proposed to the manager’s:

‘At a sports orientated university, there are two weekly publications produced by student volunteers, which are funded by the university. Due to unforeseen circumstances, funding for the publications has to be cut. The editors of each magazine are called to a meeting with the head of finance at the university to discuss which publication will continue to receive funding’

Now I’d like to say the simulation was executed perfectly and ran smoothly throughout but unfortunately it didn’t, but I won’t get into that now. Despite this I think some of our role play was useful in demonstrating the best way to negotiate, I particularly found Robbins (2005) bargaining strategies to be helpful in illustrating two different approaches to negotiating.

The first approach is distributive bargaining. It has zero sums conditions whereby ‘any gain is made at the expense of the other person’. This is a win/lose strategy, leaving one person feeling unsatisfied in the negotiation process. This left one of the publications editors feeling as though they couldn’t negotiate with the other editor and left them in a stalemate to which publication should continue. We over-exaggerate these characteristics in the role-play to demonstrate to the managers that this probably wasn’t the best approach.

In my previous post I discussed how it was possible to negotiate your first salary. If you’ve not read it already, take a look, you might find it helpful. In this post I’d like to delve deeper into the negotiation process. One of the modules I’m currently studying at university required us to present a simulation of how we would run a workshop for managers; on dealing with negotiation or conflict in the workplace.

I think this is quite an interesting topic because conflict and negotiation in some form or another arises in the workplace but it isn’t always dealt with in the best way. After an initial discussion with my group, we decided to base our simulation on how to negotiate successfully. After researching lots of material, we found a case study which we would act out to demonstrate to the managers how they might negotiate successfully in the work place.

This was the scenario we proposed to the manager’s:

‘At a sports orientated university, there are two weekly publications produced by student volunteers, which are funded by the university. Due to unforeseen circumstances, funding for the publications has to be cut. The editors of each magazine are called to a meeting with the head of finance at the university to discuss which publication will continue to receive funding’

Now I’d like to say the simulation was executed perfectly and ran smoothly throughout but unfortunately it didn’t, but I won’t get into that now. Despite this I think some of our role play was useful in demonstrating the best way to negotiate, I particularly found Robbins (2005) bargaining strategies to be helpful in illustrating two different approaches to negotiating.

The first approach is distributive bargaining. It has zero sums conditions whereby ‘any gain is made at the expense of the other person’. This is a win/lose strategy, leaving one person feeling unsatisfied in the negotiation process. This left one of the publications editors feeling as though they couldn’t negotiate with the other editor and left them in a stalemate to which publication should continue. We over-exaggerate these characteristics in the role-play to demonstrate to the managers that this probably wasn’t the best approach.

In contrast integrative bargaining requires ‘both parties being open about what they want and what their concerns are’. It also allows other negotiable offers to be brought to the table. This was demonstrated in the role-play, whereby one of the editors suggested combining the two publications. With more issues to negotiate on it meant both parties could get what they want.

In contrast integrative bargaining requires ‘both parties being open about what they want and what their concerns are’. It also allows other negotiable offers to be brought to the table. This was demonstrated in the role-play, whereby one of the editors suggested combining the two publications. With more issues to negotiate on it meant both parties could get what they want.

Have you ever been in a similar situation to the two editors? Which bargaining strategy did you use or would you use?

 

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How to negotiate your first salary

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I can see the finishing line ahead. I’m ecstatic and I can’t believe I will be graduating from uni in a couple of months. There’s just one problem. I’ll soon need a job, and preferably one in the sector I‘ve studied in, Public Relations and Communication. Currently almost half of the people who graduated in 2013 are working in non-graduate jobs (Office for National Statistics). The future looks pretty bleak not only for me but also for everyone graduating in 2014, but despite this I’m still optimistic.

Hypothetically, let’s say by some miracle, I outlast all the other candidates and get offered the dream job. The only problem now is the low, barely nothing to live on, starting salary. What should you do? A lot of people would argue, including my mum, that I should take whatever I get offered. I suppose to some extent I agree with this, but I also firmly believe in being treated fairly and not being taken advantage of by employers, due to the economic climate. This is why I feel it is important to be equipped with the right tools to negotiate properly. I personally found Robbins (2005) negotiation process model useful in understanding the best way to negotiate.

This is an easy step by step guide to follow, for any graduate considering how they should negotiate their first job’s salary:

Step One: Preparation and planning- First of all do your homework. What do other graduates in a similar job roles get? What skills and/or relevant experience do you have, which supports your argument for more pay? What value would you bring to the company? What questions might they ask you? These are all some of the questions you should be thinking about before you start negotiating.
Sep Two: Definition for ground rules- Think about who you will be negotiating with? Where will it take place? Are there any time constraints?
Step Three: Clarification and justification- Explain your reasons for why you deserve a larger starting salary. Remember to be clear and concise.
Step Four: Bargaining and problem solving- Remember the negotiation process is give and take from both sides. I’m not going to lie to you, you may have to settle for less than you initially wanted, but don’t panic. I would suggest arranging a quarterly or half-yearly review, whereby the topic of a pay increase can be discussed based on your performance. Also, think about other benefit you could negotiate on, such as travel expenses.
Step Five: Closure and implementation- Finalise the specifics of your contact and remember to set a date for another review.
Hopefully these five steps will give you the confidence you need to negotiate your first job. Finally, remember don’t be worried about asking for a fair wage, the fact they want to offer you the job in the first place shows they want you.

Have you graduated recently? How did you deal with salary negotiations?