Unfortunately, conflict happens everywhere – between friends, in the workplace, around the meeting table. The good news is that it doesn’t need to damage relationships or business deals. Many are bracing themselves for the doctors’ walkouts planned for 1, 8 and 16 December when hundreds of junior doctors will take industrial action over proposed changes to their contracts.
Knowing how to resolve conflict, whenever it happens, creates confidence and eases stress. Conflict resolution in the business world can mean the difference between good business and no business.
These 5 Top Tips highlight the key steps for resolving conflict:-
The sooner you resolve conflict, the easier it is to resolve. Don’t wait and allow the matter to boil into something bigger than it is.
If a specific behaviour has caused the conflict, promptness gives you an example to refer to and keeps you from building up hostility.
It also gives the other person the best chance of understanding the specific behaviour you want to discuss.
2.Identify the problem
Give specific details, including your own observations, valid documentation if appropriate, and information from reliable witnesses, if appropriate.
You’ve shared your own feelings about the situation, described the problem, and expressed interest in resolving the matter. Now simply ask the other party how he or she is feeling about it. Don’t assume. Ask. Discuss what caused the situation.
Does everyone have the information they need?
Does everyone understand the expectations?
What are the obstacles?
Does everyone agree on the desired outcome?
If necessary, use a problem analysis tool or a can-can’t/will-won’t performance analysis.
3.Share your feelings
Nine times out of 10, the real conflict is about feelings NOT facts. You can argue about facts all day, but everyone has his or her own feelings. Owning your feelings, and caring about those of others, is key to talking about conflict.
Remember that anger is a secondary emotion; it almost always arises from fear.
It’s critical here to use “I” statements. Instead of saying, “You make me feel so angry,” try something like, “I feel really frustrated when you…” And remember to talk about behaviours not personality.
4.Find a solution together
Ask the other person for his or her ideas for solving the problem. The person is responsible for his or her own behaviour and has the ability to change it. Resolving conflict is not about changing the other person. Change is up to each individual.
Know how you want the situation to be different in the future. If you have ideas the other person doesn’t mention, suggest them only after the person has shared all of his or her ideas.
Discuss each one:-
Does the person need your help?
Does the idea involve other people who should be consulted?
Using the other person’s ideas first, especially with direct reports, will increase personal commitment on his or her part. If an idea can’t be used for some reason, explain why.
5.Agree a plan of action
Say what you will do differently in the future and ask the other party to verbalise his or her commitment to change in the future.
With direct reports, know what goals you want to set with the employee and how and when you will measure progress. It’s important that the person articulate what will change in a specific manner. Set a follow-up date with direct reports, and explain future consequences for failure to change, if appropriate.
Do you want to learn how to recognise and handle conflict with others? For more information, please click here to join the Creativedge Handling Conflict Virtual Training Course on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 – 17:30:00 PM BST – 19:00:00 PM BST
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