It doesn’t matter the size of the business. Conflicts are bound to occur between employees and managers at any time. These frays can really have a negative impact on normal business operations. The good news is that there are some steps that can be taken to help avoid workers from getting to that point of no return. Instead of allowing these arguments to disrupt business, the following conflict resolution strategies should resolve the issue until cooler heads prevail.
These are a few conflict resolution strategies you need to know about. Such measures will keep employees from reacting instinctively.
1. Address the Issue Privately
Whether the conflict took place in person, on a call, over an e-mail or in a meeting, the act of properly managing the conflict must be addressed in a private arena. If the conflict took place in a public setting, it is best to take it to your chambers. You can simply state the issue is being addressed internally and that everyone needs to move on.
When the conflict is addressed privately, it will allow all the parties involved to openly express their intentions and feelings in a sterile environment. Addressing the conflict in private will also prevent the rest of the staff to get needlessly involved or put in a position to have to choose sides.
2. Sometimes Silence Is Golden
On the subject of conflict resolution strategies, sometimes being quiet is the best course of action in difficult conversations. Things may become heated. The normal reaction is to jump in with advice or comments the minute there is a break in the action. That awkward silence is very difficult for everyone in the room to swallow. As a result, continuing the conversation can just add fuel to an already raging fire. However, if you take away the oxygen, the fire can no longer breathe.
The same needs to be said about troubling conflicts. Allow these breaks to run their course. This will give the parties the opportunity to reflect and perhaps consider their actions and responses.
3. Determine How to Deal with the Given Situation
One of the most effective conflict resolution strategies is determining what medium is going to be best for dealing with the issue at hand. Depending on the people involved and the extent of the conflict, maybe a video call is in order. This can allow difficult emotions to be better expressed by the parties involved. Perhaps the issue is more severe, and it needs to be dealt with over lunch in a completely new setting.
Getting away from the scene of the crime can allow cooler heads to grasp the severity of what just happened. This can open the doors to a meaningful conversation. Together you will find what actions need to be taken in order for everyone to move forward.
4. Slow down the Reaction Process
Too many employees are quick to take action while the open wounds of the conflict are still sore. It doesn’t matter whether the conflict took place over an e-mail, in a conference call or at a meeting. The very first step should be for the involved parties to take a deep breath and start thinking about what to do next.
Deep breaths will slow down the reaction process. This will give everyone involved a chance to focus on what caused the issue in the first place. When everyone involved takes a step back and just breathes, it can often be enough to allow the heat of the conflict to pass.
Once everyone can focus again, acknowledge the conflict took place and don’t neglect its possible impact. Afterwards, return to the subject at a later time. This way, everyone has a chance to voice their concerns calmly.
5. The Close out Conversation
Once the conflict has been addressed, it is important to close the issue by bringing all parties into the fold. As far as effective conflict resolution strategies are concerned, addressing the issue and pointing out to all parties what triggered the issue and how it will be resolved can reduce the likelihood of it happening again. If both parties feel their concerns were addressed, and they had the chance to voice their opinions, it can close out the conversation and allow this particular conflict to be put to bed.
If each of the parties apologized to the team in private, now is the time to get these two together to allow everyone to move on.
6. Acknowledge the Conflict
There will be many times that the conflict continues because one or more of the parties feel that their concerns were not heard. Although everyone perceives conversations differently, repeating back the issue to the parties can help them to see that their points were taken into consideration.
When the issues that brought up the conflict are repeated back to the individual, there can be numerous positive outcomes. This can solidify that you understand what just happened and give each person the chance to correct you if any of their thoughts were misinterpreted.
7. Open the Door to Future Communication
Perhaps the issue was addressed swiftly, or it needed to be taken care of with several meetings until all parties felt that their concerns were addressed. Don’t slam the door shut on the issue. Allow similar situations to brew under the surface.
Diffuse future conflicts by making certain that everyone involved knows they have the opportunity at any time to revisit the issue if warranted. If the parties feel that they have the chance to bend the ear of management in the future, it can help to shed light on issues before they wind up exploding into a fiery conversation for all to see.
Give the parties their say with no interruptions, judgment or outburst. Assure them that your door is always open for further questions and issues.
We Would Love to Hear Your Thoughts
Have you had to deal with a conflict that was uncomfortable for all involved? Does your company defuse these conflicts in a way we have not discussed? Let us know your thoughts on this matter. We would love to hear more conflict resolution strategies that can maintain order in the workplace.