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Communication, Decision Making and Conflict Management

Introduction

Communication techniques are the schemes used to advance communication between individuals of a team. Their proper use ensures successful team communication and high team morale. They work to eliminate communication breakdown, a significant source of conflict, sabotage, complaints, and resignation. Applying these techniques creates a productive working environment for the team, increased cooperation, and increased creativity in team unity. To a large extent, these techniques have a significant influence on a team’s decision-making process (Hirokawa and Poole, 1996).

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Decision-making techniques are the means used in choosing from several alternatives. Some of the decision techniques are decision trees, pros & cons, parental analysis, and PMI (plus/minus/interesting). Decision-making techniques are used to reduce dissatisfaction with the choice taken. This is achieved through a systematic decision process where viable alternatives are identified, and each is evaluated, then the option that is agreed upon is adopted for implementation. Then, the team will brainstorm on the other options, determine the selection criteria, and choose the alternative arrived at by consensus for the decision to be abiding (Hirokawa and Poole, 1996). One can benefit from decision-making in the workplace by improving personal decision-making skills and competence. Such skills will be resourceful while making personal decisions by avoiding the use of procrastination and intuition style.

Conflict in a team is a disagreement arising from individuals or factions with different attitudes, beliefs, skills, and experiences. Causes of conflict vary from lack of enough information, personal differences, and past rivalries. Conflicts in a team can be healthy or unhealthy. Healthy conflicts are where parties to a team articulate different views and opinions truthfully and factually while maintaining esteem for each other. Healthy conflicts are constructive and have positive results. Unhealthy conflicts are emotional, destructive, and suppressing in nature. They jeopardize the team’s ability to achieve its goals and often lead to low productivity and efficiency (Levi, 2001).

Healthy conflicts have several benefits; they lead to better management strategy and decision-making process and create a ground for a generation of ideas from diverse personalities. In addition, it triggers the spirit of cooperation and enhances the connection with the team members. Further, it trims down the effect of conventionality pressures and inclined thinking.

Healthy conflicts can be encouraged in a team by focusing on ideas and points rather than the person generating them or the attitude towards them. According to Levi (2001), the team members should be encouraged to be good listeners and ask questions to improve their perceptions. They should also learn to speak with respect and offer clarification and detailed explanations on issues resulting in misunderstandings. In addition, they should be encouraged to be flexible and open-minded to accommodate other people’s views.

There are many methods of conflict resolution. The win-win approach uses a collaborative strategy where the different parties to a conflict have essential concerns. It is usually the best way of solving a conflict though it takes a lot of time. Its main aim is to reach a consensus. Win some-lose some method is applicable where the concern of one faction is much greater than another’s, and the conflict can be negotiated. It is an excellent solution to the short-term conflict that has pressure though it may fail to focus on the long-term concerns of a match. Win/lose method is used where both outcomes to a dispute are possible. Accommodation by one faction was wrong, while the other wins help in arriving at a solution. Litigation and arbitration typically set precedence for such conflicts. Some common examples of conflict resolution methods used in the workplace are compromise and accommodation, collaboration, arbitration, and warning (Fisher, 1997).

Reference list

Fisher, R. J. (1997). Interactive Conflict Resolution New York: Syracuse University Press.

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Hirokawa, R. Y., &. Poole, M. S. (1996). Communication and group decision making. New York: Sage publications.

Levi Daniel (2001). Group dynamics for teams New York: Sage publications.

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