Conflict Resolution

5 Tips for Getting it Right

No matter who you are, conflict is always bound to happen.

Whether you’re a manager or a staff member, there’s always going to be conflict in the workplace. Don’t conflicts are normal — healthy, even. But, they can cause everything to come to a screeching halt – your workflow, your productivity.

One can’t avoid conflict, because negative emotions pile up and create a toxic work environment. Allow conflicts to sit for too long and they become a liability to the company.

For everyone’s sake, hire a manager or supervisor who isn’t afraid of dealing with drama.

Deal with the issue as soon as you can

It’s wonderful to work out the conflict the moment you realize it’s there, but a word of advice – try giving the parties a bit of time to collect themselves before the talk.

If they seem to be very heated about the conflict, it’s better to let the parties sleep on it and talk it out the following day. Having everyone be level-headed and composed going into the meeting will make conflict resolution considerably easier.

Sort out your feelings before you get started

Calmly helping two parties who are antagonizing one another to solve a problem may seem daunting, but think of it as an opportunity. There wouldn’t be any conflict if there were no problems at all with how you’re running the company.

Before you have the talking-to with the parties directly involved, you can suggest that they name each emotion they feel at the time. They then have to ask themselves the question, “Why do I feel like this??” It’ll help them get a clearer picture of the whole dispute, and make the discussion smoother.

Have a talk, person to person.

Meet the parties face-to-face, in a private space and for an adequate period of time. Everyone directly involved has to be in the same room to resolve the issue. Make sure that the meeting isn‘t too soon nor too late – in terms of proximity from the incident as well as the time of day.

Do be careful as for some people, being asked to have a meeting with your boss and a person you have a problem with can feel intimidating. This may feed into the negative emotions that were already present due to the conflict. You can avoid this by clearly defining the meeting’s details – the time, the venue, what the meeting is about, and if possible, its goals.

Having a private meeting with your employees to work through the conflict will help quell rumors. If there are already existing rumors, best to quell them as soon as possible.

Speak in a professional manner

There should be an atmosphere of professionalism, peace and safety in the room to facilitate a smooth discussion.

If one party gets too disruptive during the discussion, you remind everyone that it isn’t for you, (though it’ll definitely help the company a lot — best not to add this out loud). The main goal is for your employees to find closure.

Here are ways to use respectful communication:

  • Use objective, neutral language. It can help avoid escalation, as well avoid alienating the other party.
  • Avoid name-calling, insults, and the like. This will keep the opposing side from feeling that they’re being belittled or attacked.
  • It also goes without saying that coarse, violent language should also be avoided. Cursing is absolutely reprehensible and must be stifled immediately.

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