Development
May 7, 2012

Les dirigeants face aux conflits

Gérés efficacement, les conflits peuvent favoriser la résolution conjointe des problèmes, améliorer la communication, rehausser le moral et accroître la connectivité entre les équipes ainsi que la productivité. Mal gérés, ils augmentent le stress et réduisent le rendement. Il est important de former des dirigeants qui sachent faire face aux conflits. Pourtant, bien des organismes refusent d’admettre qu’il s’agit d’une compétence essentielle que tous leurs dirigeants, cadres intermédiaires et employés devraient posséder.

 

Les compétences clés en gestion des conflits vont bien au-delà de la façon dont les dirigeants agissent face aux différends qui les touchent directement. Pour être compétent en gestion des conflits, le dirigeant doit être en mesure de faciliter un dialogue efficace pour résoudre les différends, que ce soit entre ses subordonnés ou entre différents services.

 

Quelles sont les connaissances et les compétences requises des dirigeants pour créer et maintenir un organisme compétent en gestion des conflits? La culture organisationnelle doit-elle appuyer la notion selon laquelle les conflits sont une facette positive et nécessaire du travail? Comment tous les employés peuvent-ils acquérir les compétences nécessaires pour gérer efficacement leurs conflits? Comment un organisme peut-il soutenir les employés qui ont des plaintes à formuler et veiller à ce que celles-ci soient entendues et traitées dans le respect, sans crainte de représailles?

 

Les gens sont promus à des postes de direction pour différentes raisons, notamment leurs compétences manifestes. Les organismes réalisent souvent (et parfois trop tard) que compétences techniques et gestion efficace des conflits ne vont pas toujours de pair. D’ailleurs, de nombreux dirigeants avouent se trouver quelque peu démunis en la matière. Si les cours en gestion des conflits et en médiation abondent, les occasions d’apprentissage qui se traduisent par une modification du comportement et une amélioration des capacités de gestion des conflits sont plutôt rares.

 

La fréquence des conflits – ces désaccords inévitables entre les gens qui peuvent conduire à la détresse et à la dissension – augmente lorsqu’il existe une interdépendance en milieu de travail, ce qui est de plus en plus le cas dans le monde où nous vivons. Pour être en mesure de gérer les conflits, il faut mettre à la disposition des dirigeants et des employés des processus permanents d’aide, de soutien et de responsabilisation.

 

Comportement en situation de conflit

La plupart d’entre nous, face aux conflits, adoptons des comportements que nous tenons de nos parents, de nos frères et sœurs, de nos professeurs, de nos collègues et de nos connaissances. Nous apprenons ce qu’il faut faire et ne pas faire et, en général, ne prenons guère la peine d’analyser notre façon de gérer les conflits en vue de l’améliorer. Dans nos relations de travail, nous continuons de nous fier à nos vieilles habitudes et à la méthode essais-erreurs. Cependant, lorsqu’on donne aux gens l’occasion de décortiquer leur comportement face aux conflits, notamment ce qui les provoque et pourquoi, ils sont plus susceptibles de prendre conscience des changements à apporter à leur comportement.

 

Nombre d’entre nous gérons les conflits à notre façon, mais nous ne sommes pas toujours conscients de la manière dont les autres nous perçoivent ni de l’impact de notre comportement sur eux. Il s’agit d’un aspect souvent négligé lorsqu’on cherche à définir les changements requis pour devenir compétent en gestion des conflits. Les évaluations tous azimuts et les profils individuels sont utiles pour faciliter le perfectionnement des compétences en la matière. Les évaluations permettent de cerner les comportements destructifs et constructifs et de recueillir divers points de vue sur les comportements précis qui tendent à faire grimper la tension au lieu de mener à la résolution d’un conflit. Voici quelques exemples de « comportements destructifs » : vouloir gagner à tout prix, se mettre en colère, humilier les autres, se venger et cacher ses émotions.

 

À l’opposé, les « comportements constructifs » favorisent une interaction plus productive entre les parties. Ils passent généralement par la maîtrise des pulsions, l’examen des divers aspects du conflit, le partage des répercussions et l’élaboration de solutions mutuellement satisfaisantes. Voici quelques exemples de comportements constructifs : prendre du recul, exprimer ses émotions, aller vers les autres et avoir une bonne capacité de réflexion. Une étude menée par le Leadership Development Institute révèle, sans surprise, que l’adoption de comportements constructifs jumelée à la diminution des comportements destructifs contribue à réduire le stress et à augmenter le rendement.

 

Divers outils permettent de cerner les différents styles de gestion des conflits. En voici quelques-uns : The Conflict Dynamics Profile, The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory, Dealing with Conflict Instrument de Alexander Hiam et Intercultural Development Inventory.

 

Pas de changement sans engagement

Avant de former ses dirigeants, l’organisme doit instaurer une culture de compétence en gestion des conflits. Il s’agit d’une tâche ardue et complexe; le mieux, souvent, est de commencer par mettre au point un système intégré ou informel de gestion des conflits. Pour concevoir un tel système, il convient d’abord d’effectuer une évaluation en milieu de travail (ou un autre type d’évaluation) afin d’en cerner les particularités et les besoins du personnel. À partir des résultats obtenu

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