There are different conflict resolution strategies available to everyone, and personalities or situations will determine what people choose. These include:
Avoidance - this is where at least one person involved tries to ignore or withdraw from the conflict.
Competing - people go into a conflict planning to win, focusing on their assertiveness while being uncooperative.
Accommodating - one side involved in the conflict gives in to the demands or wishes of another side.
Collaborating - this is where all involved in the conflict are assertive and cooperative in their search for a solution.
Compromising - all sides agree on a solution where no one gets everything they want for the benefit of a wider goal or solution.
What Is Conflict Resolution?
Conflict resolution is the process by which two or more parties agree on a solution to a problem or issue they face.
This can be an informal or formal process, depending on the nature of the conflict, how serious it is and how many people are involved. Conflicts are often between people, but they can be between teams, departments, and even other companies. Understanding who is involved in the conflict will determine the best conflict resolution strategies to use and who should be involved in the process.
Below, we focus on individual conflicts, and how to resolve them between members of staff, people in a team or groups within a department or business.
How To Resolve Conflict In The Workplace
Resolving conflict in the workplace is an important part of any manager’s role. While we can hope these skills will never be needed, there may be times when a manager needs to intervene for the benefit of the employees involved in the conflict and those affected by it.
While there are plenty of conflict resolution strategies to choose from, compromising is often the best approach, but collaborating can also work well if all parties are willing. Collaboration involves all parties sharing their viewpoints in a structured forum so an agreement can be made by everyone involved. As an objective outsider, your role is to moderate the discussions, find the best solution (usually a compromise in the middle), and ensure that it’s followed through on.
You can do this by following these steps:
Listen To The Situation
The first thing to do in any conflict resolution meeting is to listen to the situation.
Those involved will have their own views and thoughts, with people often siding together or against each other, making resolution more complicated. The more people that are involved, the more there is for you to listen to.
A conflict can be over a particular task or piece of work, a process, a tool, an attitude, opinion, or something else. The sheer scope means it’s impossible to predict what you’ll hear or how it might have affected someone.
Clarify The Conflict
After listening to all sides, you might feel overwhelmed by everything that’s been said. To get to the crux of the matter, clarify what the actual conflict is and cut through the noise or effects of it.
If you don’t correctly identify the source of the conflict, you risk only addressing symptoms of the original problem.This means the conflict will rumble on, even if things seem better on the surface.
With the core of the conflict out in the open, you can look for solutions that allow everyone to move forward.
While you are mediating the meeting, you don’t have to be the only one looking for and offering solutions. In fact, you can get a good idea of what everyone involved is looking for by finding out what they want or how they think it should be handled.
At this stage of the conflict resolution, you are looking for options. The more options you have, the more likely you’ll find the best solution.
Agree A Way Forward
With all the solutions on the table, you should find the one that will bring the best outcome for everyone involved.
That might mean no party gets exactly what they want. Your concern is how to resolve the conflict so that everyone can go back to working together effectively. This might be allocating who is responsible for certain tasks, or who needs access to a tool or resource. You might need to work out if there are any roadblocks that lead to or have been caused by the conflict. It might mean enforcing rules or guidelines on certain topics that are likely to start a future conflict.
Remember, they don’t have to be friends, but those involved in the conflict need to be able to be professional and cooperative with each other.
Agreeing a solution is not enough. You need to follow up on the solution with all parties regularly to make sure the conflict resolution is working as intended.
Especially early on, you might spend more time than you expected to ease tensions and help everyone adapt to the new way of working or the solution that’s been agreed. It will be a change for everyone, and you might meet some resistance - even though it will help.
Don’t minimise how hard this can be for some people, and continue offering support and guidance for as long as it takes.
How Can Conflict Resolution Skills Help Improve Team Performance?
When there’s conflict in a team or business, it will affect the performance of everyone involved - and even the wider team. It could cause a drop in morale or continuous distractions which means delays, failure to meet targets or absences due to stress.
Good conflict resolution skills will help staff move on from any conflicts and return to being fully productive members of the team. The mood will improve and targets will be met, which helps the team and business meet its goals.
What Conflict Resolution Training Is Out There?
Conflict resolution skills can be improved through training courses that help people understand how to recognise conflict early and what steps to take to address it. However, for managers, there’s also conflict resolution training to help you learn how to resolve conflicts you are not involved in, as well as handle issues that can cause a conflict to arise.
Some of the courses you can look at include:
Find Out More About How To Improve Conflict Resolution Skills
To keep a positive, professional and productive working environment for everyone in your team, you need to know how to resolve conflict in the workplace. If you never need these skills, that’s great, but if you do and you don’t have them, the conflict could quickly escalate into something worse.
If you’d like to know more about our courses that improve conflict resolution skills, and how they can benefit you, your staff and your business, then our team at The Hub Events are here to help. We can help you identify the best courses to meet your goals and help your staff be the best they can be. Get in touch today to find out more.