Avoiding conflicts at work is almost impossible, to the point that United States employees spend 2.1 hours per week involved with conflict.[i] While conflict can be uncomfortable, learning to effectively handle it in a productive way is an essential skill to have – particularly if you are a leader within an organization. With that being said, here are three strategic tips to use the next time you encounter conflict at work.
1) Understand the Situation
Conflict at work can arise simply due to miscommunication and misinterpretation. Work tools such as email can cause many conflicts, as digital means of communication are often misinterpreted. The first step is to understand what about the situation is bothering you. Often, we might get upset and not even understand why.
2) Address the Situation
Addressing the situation can be uncomfortable but necessary. Request a meeting with the parties involved to discuss the areas of concern. Trying to understand each person’s point of view to is critical on order to work on fixing the issue. A key strategic line to maintain during this step is to keep the conversation goal-oriented by allowing for brainstorming, open dialogue, and active listening.[ii]
3) Identify a Solution
Lastly, evaluate the information available and come up with a resolution and outline for potential next steps. Coming up with a solution that satisfies both parties can be difficult and involves compromise and an understanding of the differing perspectives. [iii] It is important for the parties involved to discuss resolution options and decide on one that ensures everyone is satisfied and happy.[iv]
Implementing these conflict management strategies can help diffuse volatile situations, save your employees time, and avoid potential future conflicts. Are there any conflict management strategies that have worked well for you in the past? Comment below and let us know.