Conflicts in organizations do not necessarily equate to a negative and unproductive environment. In fact, disagreements and arguments that lead to conflict are essential for individuals to grow and mature in their work performance. With the existence of conflicts, people realize their mistakes, understand differences in one another, and they strive to make a better organization. However, in cases when conflicts are mismanaged, the results are adverse.
In order to resolve a conflict, sometimes a third party is needed and this is especially true for group conflicts. With the help of the mediator, the individuals or the groups are able to identify the issue, deal with the conflict in productive ways and reach a sound resolution. For two individual whose relationship at work and productivity are greatly affected because of a worsening conflict, counseling may be an effective method.
Every organization employs counseling for their employees. The need to do counseling sessions in the workplace may be caused by various reasons. One of these is the existence of conflicts or bad interpersonal relationships among employees, including the management. When the conflict is negatively becoming public and affects the work environment, counseling might just help in working out the situation.
What is Counseling?
Technically, counseling is defined as a pre-emptive means aimed at correcting an erring behavior and requires the need for corrective action. The term is relevant to guiding, consoling, or advising individuals who need help in problem resolution.
In an attempt to resolve disputes between two employees, the process is done through a private talk or one-on-one communication. It is an open discussion between the employee involved and the counselor or adviser on the issue causing the argument.
During a counseling session, the counselor interviews the person and helps reach a realization through an interpersonal approach. Counseling in group conflicts is rarely done because it is difficult to address individual concerns and problems toward the cause of the conflict. Instead, a conflict mediator or a third party can take care of facilitating the situation.
Employee counseling for conflict situations has to be carefully undertaken by both the counselor and the person being counseled. Since the process may be sensitive and susceptible to the feelings, the counselor should be in the right position to conduct the process.
In an organization, the process can be performed by the supervisor or team leader, manager, or more commonly, the HR personnel. For a personality conflict between two coworkers, either the HR staff or a counseling expert can intervene. At times, the manager can mediate the situation.
An effective counselor is a good and effective listener. Advice should be concrete and encouraging. The counselor must help boost the self-esteem of the person and create a positive stance.
Objectives of Counseling Session
One of the objectives of the interview in counseling is to let the individual speak up and open up about the issue at hand. The person may want to disclose what is keeping him from wanting to settle the dispute with the other party. Through this, the counselor can create new perspectives and identify areas that need to be changed or altered.
Counseling also helps establish clear goals and generate action plans for conflict resolution. Reviewing the progress or development of the situation is also another objective of counseling. This is to monitor or to check if the intensity of the conflict has somehow decreased and a peaceful resolution is on its way. During the counseling session and after the interview, the counselor should show full support to be able to perform the action plans and check for any progress.
Benefits of Conflict Counseling
Counseling in a conflict process is very helpful and beneficial in many ways for the individuals and the organization. For one, it helps the disputing parties to understand themselves and reflect on their viewpoints. Counseling seeks to let the parties take the situation in a more objective approach and allows them to develop new perspectives.
The realization they get from counseling helps them develop a positive outlook and desirable attitude toward the situation. With a change in perception, the individuals are motivated to find out alternative solutions to the cause of the conflict. Lastly, counseling during an argument prepares the person to manage the situation.