Best Practices That Will Enable You To Negotiate Successfully and Resolve Conflicts!
It’s not a problem that conflicts arise; what matters is that managers have a plan in place to deal with them before they become detrimental to the company’s operations. Inevitably, there will be arguments between coworkers that need conflict resolution in the workplace.
However, disagreements can be settled. If you don’t shut it down, it can help you see problems more clearly, improve your relationships, and inspire new ideas.
The time has come to discuss the various approaches to conflict management and methods for resolving conflicts that can be used within an organization.
In this article, we’ll discuss the various forms of conflict that can arise in the workplace, the factors that contribute to such conflicts, and the steps you can take to conflict resolution and problem-solving to manage them to your mutual benefit.
In most cases, two types of conflicts might arise at work:
- Disagreement or friction between personalities: Anger, tension, and frustration is at the root of and fuel many conflicts.
- Substantive conflict is about something real and observable, such as a leader’s decision, a team member’s work, or the overall direction of your business.
Both, if left unchecked, can snowball into a full-blown war between groups within an organization.
“Conflict, if handled poorly, may be a source of creative fuel that drives teams to greater levels of competition and productivity and motivation.”
Common Reasons For Conflicts At Work Include:
- Responsibility needs to be clarified: Some team members could resent individuals with less responsibility than they do. Duplicated or unfinished work can lead to a buildup of blame and dissatisfaction.
- Conflict over scarce supplies: Our available time, money, materials, tools, and expertise eventually run out. Conflicts may break out over competition for them.
- Variant pursuits: Individuals or groups may prioritize their agendas over the companies. Or they’ll be slowed down and irritated by those on whom they depend on accomplishing their jobs well.
Practical Communication Skills for Preventing, Managing, and Resolving Conflict!
These five strategies for conflict resolution will come in handy when you need to settle a dispute swiftly and efficiently with strategic thinking.
1. Bring Up the Subject Quickly:
- Maintaining silence allows the bitterness to grow.
- Talking to others before making up your mind might do the same thing.
- So, whether you and your roommate can’t agree on the temperature or feel like you’re being micromanaged, try having a frank conversation with the other person.
- But if you’re worried about making that approach, or if you’re the other participant in the conflict and the other person is your manager, you should go to your manager or the HR department first.
- In any case, speak freely while remaining forceful (not aggressive). By doing so, you can prevent problems from getting worse and inspire others to do the same.
2. Feelings Management:
- Timing your discussion of the problem with another person is crucial.
- When you’re upset, you can make a statement that will only worsen things.
- Be wary about pointing fingers at one another.
- In this situation, it’s important to take a deep breath, center yourself, and ask yourself, “What am I hoping to accomplish here?” “What problems I’m facing now?” and “What would I most like to see?”
3. Attempt Empathy:
- It’s human nature to want to argue your side of a dispute rather than listen to the other person out.
- However, the discussion becomes endless when two persons engage in this behavior.
- Instead, show empathy and ask the other person to explain their side of the story while you listen to their ideas for a solution.
- Negotiation requires both parties to try to see things from the other’s perspective.
- By doing so, you can work toward an acceptable solution for both parties and strengthen their bonds of respect and understanding.
4. Make an effort to listen actively:
- You have to listen carefully to find out what’s causing the argument.
- To demonstrate that you have heard and comprehended the other person’s arguments, restate them in your own words.
- Keep an ear out for hesitancy behind upbeat phrases or other nonverbal cues contradicting their words.
- Bring these into the open and discuss them with mutual respect.
- Show your interest and that you’re paying attention by nodding your head or making similar gestures.
“Deepen your understanding by practicing mindful or empathic listening.”
5. Accept the Criticism:
- It could be painful to listen to some of what the other person has to say.
- Keep in mind that any feedback given to you on the job is meant to help you improve as an employee, not as a person.
- Be receptive to feedback in order to learn where you can enhance your performance and develop personally.
The Three-Step Strategy for Resolving Conflict Proposed by Glasers:
Many of the abilities we’ve discussed above are incorporated into the three-step strategies for conflict resolution recommended by Peter and Susan Glaser, experts in conflict management.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Please demonstrate that you can see things from their perspective.
- Recognize that you contribute to the issue.
- If the interaction was unsuccessful, try again.
- Let’s use this hypothetical conflict to practice each stage.
Presenting a Situation for Example Where Conflict Was Resolved:
Let’s pretend there’s tension between the heads of two different divisions. Sayid, the product manager, changed a product’s price without telling Gayanne, the marketing manager. As a result, the sales team emailed customers with the wrong costs. They sent a follow-up email explaining the mistake and offering refunds to affected clients.
1. Display your awareness of their perspective.
- Gayanne doesn’t blame Sayid but wants to know what led up to his decision.
- She shows that she has fully heard Sayid’s reaction by asking clarifying questions and listening carefully to his answers.
- She discovers that a significant client presses Sayid to lower the price or lose the contract.
- She clearly feels your pain because she admits, “Yes, I’ve had difficulties with that client before, too.”
- “Only when you believe that I understand you will you be willing to try to understand my perspective,” Susan Glaser explains.
2. Recognize That You Are a Contributing Factor.
- If you and another person are at odds, it’s doubtful that you’re completely blameless.
- So, own up to your responsibility.
- This helps build trust, increases awareness, and facilitates collaborative problem-solving.
- Sayid and Gayanne may have a conversation along the lines of, “I should have shared our marketing strategy, and email send dates with you. I’ll do that right away.”
3. If the conversation isn’t going well, try again.
- The two managers’ relationship is still icy, so Sayid calls Gayanne the following week to check-in.
- He says, “I’ve had some time to consider your points, and I’d like to discuss how we can work together more effectively.
- I was thinking about our conversation and would like to try again because I’m not happy with how it went.”
Keep in mind that you never really lose a chance to make peace. Professor Susan Glaser has said, “There’s a myth that if we have a bad conversation with someone, it’s over. In fact, ‘do overs’ are powerful.”
The Art of Peacekeeping!
The boldness and cooperation of these five conflict resolution skills vary widely. According to the Thomas-Kilmann model for resolving conflicts, assertiveness is the degree to which one seeks to satisfy one’s interests. In contrast, cooperation is defined as the degree to which one seeks to meet the concerns of others.
- The most suitable course of action to prevent confrontation is accommodation, which entails dropping one’s demands in favor of the other party.
- This tactic can be useful for dealing with minor disagreements at work.
- This approach to resolving conflicts is, well, conflict avoidance.
- Avoiding conflict is sometimes the greatest option in the office, even if it sounds excessively meek.
- This approach to dispute resolution involves considering the other party’s issues to be on the level as your own.
- This means you and your conflict partner will consider each other’s needs and goals before settling disagreements.
- A compromising settlement to a problem may reach common ground, but this method is more cooperative.
- Constructive opposition is sometimes the most viable option for avoiding destructive confrontations in the workplace.
- Highly aggressive people in project leadership positions with authority to choose the best course of action would benefit most from this approach to conflict management.
- This approach strikes the ideal balance between dominance and collaboration.
- Finding a happy medium is settling for an acceptable outcome for all sides but falls short of meeting their expectations.
- This approach is frequently adopted when there is a serious disagreement that needs to be settled.
Nine Methods and Skills For Preventing The Conflict:
Conflict Resolution In The Workplace To Break Deadlocks Without Giving In:
Here are ten tried-and-true conflict resolution skills and methods for avoiding, managing, and ending the conflict.
1. Set Standards for Proper Conduct:
- Setting a workplace behavior standard before any suggestion of a conflict can lessen or eliminate possible difficulties.
- They will if you let the group decide what is and is not acceptable.
- But it’s on you to set the tone, manager, that you are.
- You can do this in many ways, including by helping define proper business practices, deciding which project management tools to use, fostering teamwork and leadership, and writing detailed job descriptions.
“The clearer you are about the team’s expectations, the better they will be met.”
2. Avoid Ignoring Tension:
- There are a variety of strategies to handle workplace conflicts, and the one you choose will depend on your personality and management style.
- You could, for example, do nothing and let the people involved figure things out on their own. In some cases, this is the best method.
- Teams need to learn how to work together; one skill they’ll need is dispute resolution.
- Avoiding confrontation because it makes you uncomfortable or because you don’t want to correct someone is a mistake; however as a manager, you are tasked with handling just such situations.
- You can and should take decisive action when necessary.
- If you don’t resolve the disagreement, it will simply grow and escalate, which will have a devastating effect on your company.
3. Pick Someplace Agnostic:
- Altering the context is a common initial step in defusing tensions.
- Anger is a common human emotion that often has a geographical component.
- It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes removing the combatants from their immediate environment can help them see the bigger picture and make peace.
- The next step is to get everyone who is upset together in a neutral area so that the situation may be resolved.
- An atmosphere of neutrality is necessary before any productive discussion can occur.
- Second, to resolve the problem, it’s better to do so in an informal setting, such as a coffee shop or another location away from the office where the power dynamic could be less obvious.
4. The first step is a compliment:
- To resolve a quarrel, you must first remove yourself from its source.
- You shouldn’t start a conversation by seeming accusing.
- The onus is on you to weigh the evidence and arguments before making an executive decision.
- So, begin by complimenting them to break the ice and get them talking.
- To prove there is no clear “good guy” or “bad guy,” as it were. It’s a problem, not the individual that you’re aiming at.
5. Don’t Assume Anything:
- There is usually more going on behind any fight than meets the eye.
- If you want to treat everyone fairly, you shouldn’t jump to any conclusions right away.
- Don’t assume everyone is on the same page, even if the disagreement seems evident.
- Learn the context in which the situation exists.
- You should never make assumptions about other people.
- Investigate the situation thoroughly before passing judgment on it.
6. Consider the Positive, Not the Negative:
- While there are certainly disagreements that call for repercussions, the majority are ignited simply by emotionally invested individuals approaching an issue from different perspectives.
- The fact is that whenever there is a disagreement, there is also a chance to learn something new.
- Being a manager entails learning to use tensions within the team as an opportunity to solve underlying issues.
7. Provide Direction Instead of Answers:
- Avoiding the temptation to rectify the situation immediately is also important when dealing with workplace conflict.
- That means there may be a simple explanation for the friction and a straightforward strategy for resolving it.
- You are the group’s leader; therefore, avoid choosing a side in their disagreements.
- It’s ideal if the team can cooperate to find a solution.
- You could predict where that would be going, but they’re too close to the situation emotionally to see it.
8. Give Feedback That Can Help:
- Some strategies for dealing with a problem are more crucial than others.
- But sometimes, something is wrong, and criticism is the only acceptable response.
- But the people you criticize today will be the same ones you work with tomorrow, next week, and the week after.
- So, how do you constructively critique without becoming a bitter leader?
- This is when thoughtful criticism can be useful. It’s a method that lets you criticize the problem and assign blame while praising the positive steps already taken.
- You suggest ways forward, and the issue gets resolved. Everyone on the team has moved on, and no hard feelings remain.
9. Please Don’t Threaten:
- You have much sway as a manager.
- Avoid misusing it.
- Although it may seem like the obvious solution, forcing someone to take the right path is short-sighted.
- This serves no purpose other than to instill dread in your staff, which means they will not come to you for help if things go wrong.
- Therefore, resolving conflicts in a way that prevents them from resurfacing the following day is important.
- Keep in mind that resolving a problem effectively requires an investment of time.
- But once you’ve done all that thinking, you must take swift, definite action.
- Don’t keep the squad waiting while you make a decision.
- As a leader, it sends the wrong message.
- You risk losing the respect and support of your subordinates and the respect of the people you need to lead if you surrender your leadership role.
- Decide, and then do something about it. It’s possible that some people won’t like it, but at least they’ll know where you stand.
When not addressed, disagreement can lead to harmful outcomes, including poor decision-making, fights, and even bullying and harassment. Collaboration breaks down, morale plummets, and progress on projects stops. Talent loss, absenteeism, and employee turnover all take a toll on businesses.
Emotions have no place in conflict resolution in the workplace; only facts will do. If a team member is venting their frustrations about the project’s progress to you, take the time to listen and then use statistics to prove or disprove their claims.
Conflict exists because humans do, and so do conflict resolution and problem-solving. We all have different beliefs, requirements, and routines, making it simple to misunderstand, annoy, or even confront one another.