Any library professional working anywhere in any library, always has to play the dual role – first one is to understand the behaviour of their library patrons and the second one is to understand their superiors and subordinates. In this regard, many professionals have given their opinion and one of them is Mann and Katz who says, there are three skills of managerial and they are:
- Technical Skills
- Human Relation Skills, and
- Conceptual Skills
And, out of these three, most importnat is ‘Human Relation Skill’ which is responsible to establish effective relationship with chiefs, superiors, sub-ordinates and library patrons. A library professional, especially Librarian, has to to be sensitive to the attitutdes, feelings and requirement of staff members otherwise, he/she will not be able to estimate the reaction of library staff of saying and doing. The important human relations are not only those related to achieving the objectives of organizations but those related to maintaining the organization’s internal system.
There are many factors that kill the interpersonal relationships and CONFLICT is a very influential and one of them. After your best practices and efforts sometimes conflict occurs between individuals and groups as well. Lack of understanding between interacting individuals is the root of interpersonal conflict.
However, libraries are considered totaly the institution of library patrons and here in any situation, conflict can not be avoided. It is our (Librarian) responsibility to identify the main areas of conflicts. This may vary from one library to another library depending upon the nature of the library, goal and objectives of the library and type of the library users who are being served. Some of the genral areas where conflict may occur easily and they are:
- Authorities demanding more and more services to satisfy users’ need with limited resources
- When any change is introduced, (either in infrastructure or library services) it affects the timing of the sub-ordinates and also the acceptance by the working staff (in most cases – introduction of computer)
- Most important – when we (Librarian) avoid or fail to recognize the special efforts taken by any staff to improve the library system and services
- When library users demanding more services but resources are very limited or limited allocation
- When we (Librarian) don’t try to identify or recognize the conflicting condition, it develops hostile relationship among staff and authority. Sometime, deliberate conflicting condition is developed by some of the sub-ordinate, that has to be identified seriously.
The best method to resolve these conflict is to identify the conflict first and work on it seriously before hostile relationship takes place. Some of the very known procedure may help to adopt and go ahead with any one of them.
1. Suggestion Box: This is the best method to know and solve the conflict. Many times, staff or anyone does not find courage to bring the real condition before the authorities and conflict goes unnoticed. It will also help to submit the problem without getting noticed.
2. Observation: The authority has to be sharp enough to observe the behaviour or change in communication style, nature and behaviour of any staff towards his/her head and also in working environment.
Conflict Management is the technique which can help the authority to develop congenial environment and also restrain the staff from fighting and argument. The authority with the conflict management technique can resolve the conflict in constructive manner and easily establish healthy relation between individuals.
Some of the mentioned ways may help to resolve the conflict:
- Participative Decision Making
- Approaching personally
- Better understanding and cooperation
- Building trust and faith for each other
- Motivation and Encouragement
- Sacrifice for the benefit of individuals
- Changes in the system and structure of need sometimes may reduce the conflict.
The above lines are based on readings different resources and personal experience. There may be more options to resolve conflict through different methods.
Request to share your input also in order to resolve the conflict.