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    Jun 05, 2023    |   Psychometrics Canada

Conflict in Times of Uncertainty

Diverse puzzle pieces coming together

Written by Justin M. Deonarine, I/O Psychologist 

Read time: 2 minutes  


Sometimes, there are just too many unknowns. It doesn’t have to be on the scale of a global pandemic, but data suggests that conflict changes when there is a high degree of uncertainty. There may be an element of fear to push for what you need. What if it’s the wrong choice? What if I don’t actually need this? It’s similar to paralysis by analysis: Why don’t we wait out the situation?

What are the changes that we see?

  • People are less willing to be assertive: It’s hard to determine the best course of action, so it’s hard to know what to be assertive about. As a result, the approaches to conflict that require assertiveness are used less frequently. Those around you may be less willing to push for what they need, in order to come to a quicker solution or to defer responsibility to the group’s decision.
  • Groups aren’t striving for win-win solutions: Collaboration is the conflict style that saw the largest decrease in use throughout the pandemic. Win-win solutions can take time and effort to establish. Additionally, it may not be clear what a “win” is, especially as goals change in times of uncertainty.

These changes bring a greater challenge to the table. Diversity is built on harnessing different perspectives, alternatives, and input. However, we have to be willing to take the risk and share our perspective. If individuals are uncomfortable contributing their perspectives, we lose the benefits of diversity. As a group, we have to be willing to listen to all input, weigh the pros and the cons, and move forward with what we think is the best path forward.

Implementing effective conflict resolution strategies in times of uncertainty becomes paramount. By embracing open communication, active listening, and a willingness to engage with differing perspectives, organizations can navigate conflicts more effectively and foster an inclusive environment where diverse ideas and solutions can flourish. Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, even in the face of uncertainty, allows teams to tap into their collective intelligence and find innovative ways to address challenges.

As we adapt to the changing landscape, it’s essential for HR professionals and leaders to recognize the influence of uncertainty on conflict dynamics and invest in equipping their teams with the necessary conflict resolution skills.

Ready to enhance conflict resolution in your organization? Unleash the power of the Work Personality Index®  and unlock a new level of understanding and collaboration within your teams. With this comprehensive assessment you will be provided with valuable insights to improve team dynamics, increase productivity, and foster a positive work environment. Contact us today to discover how the Work Personality Index assessment can revolutionize your organization’s conflict resolution strategies and empower your teams to navigate uncertainty with confidence.


Filed under: Conflict

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