Conflict has become such a part of our daily routine as an IT architect, that we barely notice it. In the majority of cases we can have conflicts of interest with dozens sometimes hundreds of people during a normal working day. In fact a lot of our social behavior involves dealing with conflict unconsciously. When the stakes are high or the problem is more puzzling or arousing than usual, we then become aware of a conflict and struggle consciously with how to handle it. Usually at these times you are quite happy to being coached to learn and apply conflict management techniques, because it is useful to learn to recognize and use better conflict resolution methods in all the conflicts of interest that you encounter. Conflicts are everywhere.
If you consider all the requests and instructions you receive during the normal work-day, you will tend to treat most of those as routine. However there is a hidden influence of conflict at work. In fact, if you ask people whether there is conflict in their workplace they usually say no. If you carefully observe somebody working for an hour or so, you will probably unearth a broad range of conflicts and here are some examples.
* Office equipment competition such as printers and copiers.
* An argument with somebody about who is responsible for a problem.
* Co-worker disagreement about when or how to do a task.
* Resentment towards superiors because of criticism over problems.
* Requests to superiors about performance measures or working conditions.
* Debating in meetings about how to plan projects.
* Customer requests for rapid delivery when it isn’t feasible.
* Customer complaints about the quality of service.
* Unannounced price increases by suppliers when their goods or services already seen too expensive. The key concept here is that in all of the examples above these are actually conflicts, because there are two or more parties with differing goals or needs involved. Generally speaking these types of differences are swept under the carpet because people do not like to engage in arguments at work. Employees cover up dissatisfaction or superiors may pull rank so that conflict is avoided. Good negotiating techniques can be used to resolve these types of conflicts politely. There is etiquette to negotiation which makes it possible to turn messy or unpleasant conflicts into what seems like a game.
The key to mastering conflict situations is learning how to play each of the different negotiating contests. In your IT architect role you will need these skills because in the end you are building something new and generally people do not like change. Negotiation training with your IT architecture coach, particularly training which focuses on building trust and cooperative conflict resolution will help you learn to take advantage of conflict. Using these skills creates a more innovative workforce and can turn overlooked problems into business opportunities.