Can you manage conflict at work? On any day, you’re bound to deal with conflict in the workplace, whether it’s between coworkers or between yourself and your supervisor. The key to resolving these conflicts is learning how to manage them well so that they don’t affect morale or productivity. Our 10 conflict management techniques can help you keep things civil at work. Thus, you don’t have to worry about how to manage conflict in the workplace when it happens.
Our 10 Tips to manage Conflict Effectively
Define what makes up conflict
When we talk about conflict, it’s important to remember that conflict is not always a bad thing. It may be an expression, disagreement, or simply a different opinion. Unfortunately, negative conflict is often more visible and can have major repercussions if left unchecked. The most common kind of conflict is interpersonal conflicts. This occurs between two people who may or may not involve each other professionally.
While your anger may be justified, it can take a while for you to respond appropriately when you’re in a state of shock. Wait at least a day before responding, unless involving someone’s safety. In that case, your priority should be to resolve that issue as quickly as possible. Otherwise, clarify what happened, let it soak in for a bit and then think about how you want to proceed from there.
Make sure you have all of your facts straight. If you need some time to cool off, give yourself permission to move forward later. Don’t make any rash decisions in anger. And remember: People rarely mean everything they say; if things got heated. There was probably something leading up to that point. Find out what caused things to escalate and see if you can fix whatever started it.
Solve the underlying problem
Solving workplace conflict is all about solving the underlying problem. Meaning, before you can even handle that difficult coworker or irate client, you need to get down to what’s really going on and why they’re so angry. Identifying a root cause might require some creative thinking. It could be as simple as looking at things from their perspective.
Look at all perspectives
If you’re having a conflict with a coworker, look at things from all perspectives. We all want what we believe is best for our company. That doesn’t change just because someone isn’t on board with your view or what they think is best.
Take a moment to understand why they might feel as strongly as they do about something and figure out where you can meet them halfway. If you don’t come up with an immediate solution, acknowledge that there are two or more different ways to view a situation. This often enough to create some space between two conflicting parties.
Use a neutral mediator
When conflict arises, don’t take sides. Instead, bring in a neutral third party that can mediate and reconcile issues. The goal is for both parties to feel heard and understood so they can reach a compromise that everyone is comfortable with. This process won’t always work, but when things get resolved, it will be because people listened more than they spoke.
Practice active listening skills
Active listening is important for any relationship, but it’s especially critical at work. Listening well allows you to hear what someone else is saying, instead of just hearing your own reply. Be sure to make eye contact and nod along as a way of conveying that you’re listening intently. Once they have finished speaking, paraphrase their points back to them. This shows that you are listening, and can help build trust with your colleagues. This is one of the main benefits of working in a team!
Give everyone time to vent
This is one of Laird Events’ most important conflict-resolution techniques. The venting process allows people on both sides of a conflict to get their feelings out. Give people time and space to do so.
Let everyone share their thoughts, calmly and logically. It then becomes easier for them (and you) to reason through what happened. If people don’t express themselves, then it gives other parties a way out by saying, ‘I didn’t know you felt that way; I could have handled that differently,’ says Silvestri.
Focus on solutions rather than problems
For conflict resolution, most of us spend far too much time focusing on problems rather than solutions. Rather than fretting over what could go wrong with a situation, try turning your attention toward how you might work together. Come up with an ideal solution for everyone involved. It is surprising how quickly everyone involved will feel heard and respected, and a little less defensive as well. It just takes one person to lead by example. So make sure you’re that person.
Keep things confidential
If a coworker approaches you about something she wants kept between you two, be sure to honor that request. Sometimes people need advice, not only for themselves but also for their teams and other coworkers. Other times it’s personal, and she simply doesn’t want everyone knowing her business. Help her out by keeping things confidential as much as possible.
Decide on an action plan
When you’re confronted with a difficult coworker, deciding on an action plan is paramount. Should you confront them directly? Send them an email? Or is their hostility coming from stress at home and best solved by a simple sympathetic nod of your head? Nowadays, most people keep their feelings bottled up and let work-related conflict fester, but keeping those feelings out of work doesn’t make things any better.
Manage Conflict in the Workplace Conclusion
A big part of being a manager is learning how to manage conflict in the workplace. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary if you want your business to run smoothly. Conflict can come as arguments, stress, or even anger get directed at others on your team. In order to find success in the working world, it is important for employers and employees alike. Hence, learn how to manage conflict in the workplace.
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