Resolving conflict in the workplace is usually a huge concern in any company or group situation, conflicts are bound to happen. When two or more people with varying personalities work together, communication differences, work style preferences, and conflicting opinions are inevitable. The key is to be able to overcome any differences so everyone stays productive and the organization excels. It’s not easy to do yet it is possible.
How about discussions on politics? I will not cover this conflict since people don’t know how to control their anger when discussing politics with someone who has an opposing opinion. Does this happen in your family too? 🙂
My coaching clients use these five steps to reduce conflict in the workplace whenever interpersonal conflict arises during tough conversations. They’ll save you both time and headaches. A true benefit is that you will even gain control back with difficult people. I hope you are eager how you can make this happen.
Conflict in the Workplace Strategy #1: Identify the Situation
While this step may seem obvious, you need to remember to think in specifics. Simply saying, “The marketing department drives me crazy with their ‘pie in the sky’ thinking,” will not help you resolve the issue. You need to precisely pinpoint who is causing the conflict as well as what he or she does that upsets you.
Conflict in the Workplace Strategy #2: Make an Appointment to Discuss the Conflict
Once you’ve figured out the specifics, you need to meet with the person. Go to his or her office and say, “I need to talk to you about our working relationship. Would you be willing to meet me for lunch on Thursday?” Whatever you do, don’t barge into the person’s office and start accusing him or her of things. You want to meet the person in a public area so the conversation stays civil.
Conflict in the Workplace Strategy #3: Craft your “I” message
The first few words you say to the person will set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Therefore, make sure you don’t accuse the person or put him or her on the defensive by using “you” statements, as in, “You are always late for work and you’re making my job very hard.” Instead, follow this formula:
I am ______________ when ____________ because _____________.
(your responsibility) (non-judgmental) (how it affects you)
For example, “I am frustrated when the team agreed to be punctual for our morning meetings because people are breaking this rule. People who are on time are upset and this is affecting the team morale.” This approach takes the attention away from the person and focuses it on the behavior that is causing conflict.
Conflict in the Workplace Strategy #4: Set your Goal
Think of what the other person will say and what you will say in response. Additionally, plan the desired changes you would like to see the other person implement. Don’t forget that no conflict is one-sided. You must look at the other person’s side of things and find out what you can do to make work easier for him or her too.
Conflict in the Workplace Strategy #5: Get closure
Before leaving the meeting, detail the specific agreements both parties have made. Shake hands, and then choose a date and time that you’ll meet again to evaluate overall progress.
Conflicts don’t have to be ugly situations that cause grief and pain. Anyone can resolve conflicts by being Direct with Respect® and by keeping an open mind. The more you work toward resolving conflict in the workplace, the more successful you’ll be in business and in life.
You may even resolve those family discussions about NOT discussing politics when the anger starts making family members feel uncomfortable! 😊
I want to hear from you
Send me your questions or comments on what is and what is not working when conflict is an issue at work. Does leadership promote resolving the conflict or hope that it will disappear? You’ll receive a response from me because I enjoy connecting with my loyal readers! 🙂
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This is Joyce Weiss
Corporate Communication Strategist and Career Coach
Until next time, Remember…”You Get What You Tolerate!”
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