How to positively manage and resolve conflict on the work floor
Thursday 28 April 2022
Conflict is a normal part of all relationships. After all, we cannot be expected to agree on everything all the time. The key is not to fear or try to avoid conflict, but to learn how to resolve it in a healthy and respectful way.
What is conflict?
At a very basic level, conflict occurs when two people or a group of people have very different expectations, and they disagree.
Although often unpleasant, managing disagreements in a respectful, positive way can provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between people. Whether you’re experiencing conflict at home or at work, learning a few simple skills can help you resolve differences in a healthy way and build stronger, more meaningful relationships.
Set up a time and place so you can speak calmly without outside interruptions.
When you do meet, each person should have adequate time to say what he or she believes the other party needs to hear. Don't allow any individual to monopolise the conversation or control the topic. Each person should talk about the disagreements and how he or she feels about the situation.
Remember, this is not the time to attack or assign blame. Focus on the problem, not your opinion of the other person’s character. For more information, read 6 Communication Tips to strengthen Your Company’s Culture
It's essential to give your complete attention to the person who is speaking. Do not interrupt the other person.
Make sure you're getting the message he or she intends to send. Rephrase and repeat back what you've heard to confirm understanding. You might say something along the lines of, “Please let me make sure I understand. You disagree because...”
Ask clarifying questions if needed. You can request that the other person repeat a central idea or reword his or her frustrations in a way that makes sense to you.
Listening should always be about gaining understanding. Don’t let yourself become reactionary to the other person's words.
Your conversation primarily will focus on the disagreements, but resolution is possible only when you find points of agreement or compromise. You should emerge from the experience with some positives instead of negatives.
Shed light on the commonalities. Share examples or instances in which you agree with the other person or can see another point of view. For example, if you disagree on new sales tactics, you might share what you liked about the other person’s idea or the motivation to work harder for the team.
Looking for agreement demonstrates your willingness to seek out common ground and build a relationship around those trust elements.