What is conflict management?
Conflict management is the implementation of strategies to eliminate the negative aspects of disputes and accentuate the positive ones. The objective is for the differing sides in the matter to collaborate and overcome their differences in a way that each party is heard and understood.
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Managing Conflicts in the Workplace
Managing conflicts at work can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips on how to effectively manage conflict in the workplace:
- Take immediate action: Being proactive when conflicts arise by resolving them as soon as possible minimizes tension and obstructs other employees from being involved in disagreements.
- Frame the discussion positively: Using the correct term to categorize each discussion is key to avoiding unnecessary tension. Instead of using the term “conflict resolution” to frame the meeting as a “brainstorming” discussion or “chat session,” certain terms have a negative connotation that will cloud the progression of the conflict.
- Focus on the issue, not the person: Encourage parties to avoid personal attacks, rather focus on problem-solving
- Practice active listening: Listen to each speaker and adhere to the message they are relaying to you. The best way to accomplish active listening is to ask open-ended questions; this leaves room for endless dialogue conducive to finding a solution.
Examples of Workplace Conflicts
- Task-Based Conflicts
- Conflict with Managers Leadership Style
- Conflicts with Customers
- Clash of Personalities
- Performance Review Conflicts
Conflict Management meetings are usually in a quiet formal setting. The mediator (i.e., supervisor, manager, etc.) will call a meeting for both parties to discuss their gripes.
Adapt Conflict Resolution Skills
- Communication: Clear and concise communication is an effective skill to help the parties involved feel heard and understood. It also helps keep each constituent on the right track for exactly what is expected going forward.
- Empathy: Looking at the argument or situation from the other person’s point of view can reduce stubbornness and resentment.
- Problem Solving: Great problem solvers are effective at listening and finding solutions, which assists differing parties with agreeing and cooperating.
- Emotional Intelligence: Understanding your feelings and others is imperative to minimizing and averting conflicts to find a surefire resolution.
How To Lead A Conflict Management Meeting
If you are the mediator of a conflict management meeting, follow these tips to ensure a successful outcome:
1. Set Ground Rules. Explain to the parties involved the goals and procedures for the meeting. Expound on what is considered unacceptable behavior and each constituent’s expected.
2. Identify the conflict. Ask each party to relay their side of the particular event one at a time. Pose questions for a better understanding, as this will assist in pinpointing the exact issue. Be sure to clarify both perspectives until there is a commonality of the problem.
3. Discuss possible solutions. Review different methods to handle the problem if it arises again in the future. You will ask yourself, “What was successful about the meeting?” “Is there anything I could have done differently to resolve the matter?”
4. Confirm the problem. Confirm that both parties accept the resolution that was established. Record the meeting, solution, and procedures on a document to enforce the resolution and that each party fully understands. Have both parties sign the document.
5. Conduct a separate follow-up with each party. After time has passed, call each party into the office separately and confirm there has not been any ongoing conflict since the last meeting. Set a second meeting if there has been another conflict.