Q1: Problem Definition and Causes
The main problem that arises in the difference or conflict between Lilly and John is basically a problem of incoherence. Both Lilly and John have not worked long enough and partnered in ways that can help them understand each other better and solve disputes amicably. Lilly is feeling superior to John who she participated in his hiring. She feels she has been long enough in the organization and in the particular project thus giving her more insights on the objectives and mission of the said project (Njoku 2017 P. 415). John on the other hand, feels that the main reason as to why he was hired in the first place was due to his competencies and ability to deliver desired results. As such, John feel he has all the rights to do what he does. John is right in his own perspective so is Lilly. The gist of the matter is mistrust between the two selected leaders due to the assumptions they make regarding each other. Lilly assumes that she is ignored in everything thus insecure about her job. John assumes that Lilly is too busy to have time for the project to continue hence his need to take full control.
There are various causes of the conflict between the two leaders. The predominant cause of the problem is lack of proper communication. Communication when working together as a team or partnership to deliver results is the foundation of trust and strong working relationship (Njoku 2017 P. 415). Effective communication helps to foster trust, team spirit, help individuals to understand their partners better and foster a cordial working relationship. In the case of the project leadership wrangles between Lilly and John was fueled by poor communication. In most instances, Lilly complained of meetings being called without her prior consent and letters signed without her knowing their contents. Such actions made her feel insubordinate. John was supposed to brief her on the need for meetings, they set the agenda together and how to approach such meetings in presentations. Signings of the documents would not be a problem if John consulted with Lilly and sort the letters to be signed by anybody who was available or jointly sign the letters. Mistrust was built since Lilly assumed that she is being looked down upon.
Conversely, lack of job description or specification as team leaders in the project created a hostile environment for the two leaders. According to Snell, Morris, and Bohlander 2015, job description defines the nature of work that a person is supposed to do, reporting authority and scope of operations while job specifications defines the details of the job and qualifications or experience. If such were made clear and available for both parties, they would know their backgrounds and key roles to play in the project implementation process. It is imperative for every employee to know the contribution they would be making within the organization and in a particular assigned task. Both Lilly and John needs to understand their scope of operations and, limits to foster respect and trust between them. Such environment is critical in boosting the confidence and morale of other team members to deliver effective results to the project.
Additionally, the lack of team cohesion and bonding is a significant contribution to conflicts, misunderstandings and bad attitude that negatively affects the operations and vision of a team in accomplishing a task. From the onset, John and Lilly should have had an opportunity, either created themselves or by the organizational leadership to help them bond with each other and get to know more regarding their respective leadership approaches and team management. Such initiative gives time to understand a colleague being that Lilly opposed the appointment of John.
Q2: Problem Solving Approach
A number of approaches have been advanced to help in the problem solving in cases where conflicts have erupted or escalated thus affecting management or service delivery within organizations. One of the popular mechanism in solving problems is brainstorming. It is the application where the disputants agree to formulate in a peaceful manner through negotiation on the issues that divides them. Brainstorming involves giving randomly, a list of solutions to the different problems facing the duo. Through brainstorming, Both John and Lilly are able to select practical and acceptable approach they seem fit to solve their differences. For instances, John stating that Lilly is too busy can be solved by him giving instances when he saw the busy schedule of Lilly. Conversely, arrangements can be made so that both of them are not inconveniences by the busy schedule of other partners. Additionally, the duo can opt for a divide and conquer (Singer 2018) strategy as an approach to solve their differences. The divide and conquer approach implies the ability of the disputants to systematically subdivide the significant differences causing the dispute to single solvable units. If it is the issues of competency that Lilly suggests to disqualify John from the job, and then the issue can be tackled by giving her more assurances besides the academic papers, job experience and team management skills to be able to work together.
In problem solving, there are a number of steps that are followed in order to effectively solve a problem. One of the prominent first steps to be followed is to identify the conflict, nature and cause (Wallensteen 2018). Defining the problem would be the first step in establishing the real issues underlying the problem. It is the point where faces are separated from opinion and feelings. The disputants are called separately to issue an account of their opinion, views and perspectives about the entire issue. Defining the problem is also important in helping examine the extent of the problem and the damage it causes. More damages can be prevented as lasting solutions are thought about. Proper definition of the problem or its identification are critical in the formulation of approaches to solve the conflict.
Once the problem has been identified and accordingly defined in nature and scope, the second step in resolving the conflict would be to identify various solutions that would yield the most desirable outcome that is accepted by both worrying parties. During the selection of alternative dispute resolution items, the disputing parties should be present and brainstorm on the selected issues. The alternatives being floated must be able to solve the problem. Conversely, a specific method should be settled on and give directions on how it should be implemented. The parameters in which it affects both parties must also be identified and how it will solve the problem, both in the long run and in the immediate instance. In this step, the duo can arrange for a private engagement session to determine their values as compared to those of the organization. Leadership seminars and conferences, team cohesion and team building sessions and communication therapy or strategies. By going through communication therapy as an option, problems arising from misunderstanding and assumptions can be resolved amicably or prevented completely.
Additionally, ones the options have been tabled by all parties involved, the next step is to select the most viable options among the many brainstormed ideas. The best option should be one that is acceptable by both disputants, and would yield the best results besides being cost effective in implementation. From the case of the dispute between John and Lilly, it is imperative to settle on effective communication systems (Snell, Morris, and Bohlander 2015) and or therapy, job descriptions and specifications, and team cohesion. The final step would be one that interrogates if the techniques set aside are functional and that the causes of the conflict are not recurring. Monitoring the reconciliation or the dispute resolution mechanisms are very imperative in the case. For instance, if the main cause of the dispute were poor communication, and mechanisms are made to solve the communication problem, it is important to ensure that communication is effective and not a problem.
Q3: Possible Solutions
One of the major solutions to the problem is enhancing communication challenges that create suspicion and assumptions. Communication can be enhanced through regular face to face meetings between John and Lilly so that they can set programs and agenda for meetings, actions and assigning duties to their team members (Kramer 2016 p. 312). Meetings are also critical in helping the duo to bond and be credible enough. Additionally, it is imperative to increase confidence and trust levels between the two factions through bonding, seminars and conferences that would help the two leaders to better understand their roles, responsibilities and mandate to the project they are leading. John and Lilly can best be made to work as partners if the initial misconceptions between each other are eliminated in a fact finding mission. The two leaders would thus be confronted with truth and see the sense of working harmoniously (Kramer 2016 p. 312). Another possible solution to the conflict is to remind the two factions on the organizational values, goals and missions and vision. Such values are critical in helping the leaders realize the bigger picture of the project and not just the normal altercations they might have. The values and objective of the organization, would help them establish a relationship built on the organizational culture that is firm and strong to withstand causes of the conflict like miscommunications.
Kramer, H.S., 2016. Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Work Place. Law Journal Press.
Njoku, I.A., 2017. The role of communication in conflict resolution. International Journal of Communication, 5(1).
Singer, L., 2018. Settling disputes: Conflict resolution in business, families, and the legal system. Routledge.
Snell, S., Morris, S. and Bohlander, G.W., 2015. Managing human resources. Nelson Education.
Wallensteen, P., 2018. Understanding conflict resolution. SAGE Publications Limited.