Conflict is an inevitable part of life, affecting people both personally and professionally. In the workplace, conflict is bound to happen because you have people with different backgrounds, cultures, opinions, and personalities trying to collaborate together. When conflict does arise, it can cause a great deal of frustration, anxiety, discomfort, and anger. That is why it is crucial for managers to understand how to recognize conflict, address it, and resolve it as quickly as possible. As a business leader, it is your responsibility to help your employees work through disputes. Here are some strategies that are effective for resolving workplace conflict.
1. Evaluate the Situation
When conflict arises, you don’t want to jump to conclusions. Any actions should be based on fact, so it is important to start by evaluating the situation so you understand exactly what is going on. Speak to all parties involved and ensure you gain as much information as possible from both sides so you can look at the situation objectively. Define the source of the problem, as this will enable you to know how best to prevent it in the future.
2. Choose a Neutral and Private Place to Talk
The first step in having a productive conversation regarding conflict is to find an environment that is safe for you and the involved parties to talk. Choose a private space, so both parties will feel comfortable having an open and honest conversation. You also want to give them enough time to air out their views regarding the matter.
3. Listen Actively
Allow each person involved to share their feelings and perceptions regarding the issue while you and the other party listen without interrupting. Give each party equal time to express their thoughts and concerns without favoring one or the other. Encourage both parties to share their thoughts openly and honestly as you and the other party listen and take time to comprehend their point of view.
4. Identify Points of Agreement and Disagreement
Once both parties have spoken, summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement. Ask the involved parties if they agree with your assessment and if they agree, you can move on to finding a compromise. If they do not agree, modify the assessment until everyone agrees on the areas of conflict.
5. Develop a Plan
When managing conflict, you need to have a common objective so that the issue is resolved and does not resurface in the future. After clarifying the source of the conflict, sit down with both parties and discuss ways in which they can work together to meet their common goal. Listen, communicate, and brainstorm together until you have exhausted all options and developed a plan that everyone can agree on. Create an action plan so each party understands their roles and responsibilities regarding the issue.
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