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Conflict is a natural aspect of human interaction. Sooner or later, we all bump heads with someone in the workplace. Since productivity and employee morale are on the line when conflict becomes an issue in the workplace, it is imperative that leaders and managers quickly resolve the issue. This is where having a conflict resolution strategy comes into play.
Conflict and the emotions that fuel it—anger, frustration, and stubbornness—are huge wastes of time, and none of these emotions benefit anyone. This is why you need to resolve conflict quickly and easily, so your employees can go back to focusing on their work. To assist you in your conflict resolution strategy, we have put together five proven tips.
When tempers flare and conflict bubbles to the surface, the first thing everyone involved needs to do is walk away and cool down. As conflict arises, strong emotions tend to escalate the situation, as opposed to logic and reasoning which diffuse the conflict. And when emotions become involved, any sort of resolution becomes impossible to negotiate. Heated arguing tends to exacerbate the issue further, not fix it.
Before pulling arguing employees into your office for mediation, attempt to sit down with each one separately and learn about their individual issues. Make sure to not focus solely on complaints. Find out what the positive angles are—what your employee wants or needs to come out of resolution.
Ultimately, everyone involved in a conflict will have their own ideas for what constitutes as an acceptable solution. As an objective mediator, your only hope at resolving the matter is to devise a solution comprised of the most agreeable aspects of each employee’s individual solution—in other words, a compromise. This way, the solution you put in motion appeals to everyone and does not seem one sided.
Now that you have a solution in mind, it is time to implement it. Have a plan in place that takes steps in remedying the current conflict. Your plan needs to be accepted and acknowledged by every party involved. Without proper solution implementation, conflicts are destined to break out again in a never-ending cycle.
Scaling back a boil to a simmer does not mean that the heat is entirely gone. The second half to any conflict resolution should be following up with everyone involved. Doing so is a great way to be not only proactive, but also ensure that any lingering bad blood does not affect your business in any way, shape, or form.
Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable, and there are no tricks for avoiding them—they just happen. Nevertheless, there are steps for quickly managing conflict, effectively, and reasonably so that you minimize any disruption to your business and maintain a positive work environment for everyone at the company. By following the tips outlined above, you can tackle, in a professional manner, any conflicts that arise.