Conflict is a natural occurrence in our daily lives, especially in the workplace. People have differing personality types and varying goals and motives, so it should not be a surprise when a conflict occurs. However, conflicts will only grow and cause needless frustration and annoyance if you do not know how to resolve them in an effective and productive manner. Effectively resolving conflicts can help you to grow and develop as a professional in the workplace. When conflicts are properly resolved, the solidarity of the team unit is cemented and a cohesive understanding is developed. This process leads to increased productivity in the workplace. If a conflict is not resolved properly, negativity will be cultivated and damaging results will pervade the workplace. There are several steps that you can take to learn how to develop conflict-resolving skills.
1. Understand Effective Conflict Resolution “Rules”
The first step in this process is to understand effective conflict resolution rules which will enable you to proceed to effectively resolve issues and find positive solutions. Understanding the rules begins with realizing you must hold relationships in high regard and you will have greater success in resolving conflicts. Respect all of your colleagues and managers. Make every effort to become an active listener in the workplace, which means that you listen first and talk after you’ve heard the other person’s point of view. Remember to repeat what the other person said (in your own words) to assure this individual that you have heard his or her words. Additionally, be mature in your tone by using an assertive voice without taking the conversation to the extreme—aggressively or submissively. Another rule of effective conflict resolution is to ensure that you only speak to the facts and don’t base your opinions on conjecture and hearsay. Finally, embrace the rule of figuring out how to find creative solutions with all parties involved.
2. Ensure You Ascertain all the Facts
The second step involves developing your effective fact-gathering skills. If there is a conflict at work and you have been called in by your manager to resolve the team issue, make sure you know how to get all the facts straight. For example, if you listen to the office gossip mill rather than gather the facts from the specific parties involved, you will make a big mistake and will not effectively resolve the conflict. Some of the facts to gather are as follows: cause of the issue, individuals’ opinions, concerns of those involved, and how the conflict started and then progressed. You need to have a clear understanding of all these issues in order to effectively resolve conflicts. This process applies to you as well, if you are directly involved in the conflict. The goal of properly gathering the facts is to have enough information to clearly understand the other person’s perspective. Then you both can work on developing a solution to the conflict. Remember to be genuine in your attempt to resolve the issue and stay flexible throughout the process.
3. Reach an Agreement Regarding the Issue
After you have gathered all the facts, it is vital that you reach an agreement with regard to the issue. Both parties involved need to agree on what the conflict actually is. If there is a disagreement as to the cause of the issue, the resolution will be harder to find. This is where you must work to clearly understand the other person’s perspective. See where this individual is coming from and why he or she reacted to the issue and a conflict was created. Agreeing on the actual issue will enable you both to come to a swift resolution and become more productive in the workplace.
4. Creatively Resolve the Conflict
All parties involved need to be part of this creative conflict resolution process. If someone is left out of the brainstorming aspect, then the situation is ended on an unfair note. If true healing is supposed to occur in the workplace, everyone’s ideas and opinions must be heard. This brainstorming session is culminated in a resolution being implemented in the workplace relationship. The resolution needs to be acceptable to all parties involved. The conflict should end in a “win-win” compromise. Sometimes it is difficult to find an equal compromise to conflicts. However, if one party does not receive an equal portion of the resolution, a true compromise has not been reached. That unfair resolution provides an opportunity for the conflict to continue to fester and grow into a bigger problem in the workplace.
See also: How to Avoid Conflicts at Work
Remember that effectively resolving conflicts will help you to become more productive in the workplace. What steps have you taken to resolve conflicts in your workplace and among your team members?