How to Resolve Conflicts at Work in 10 Steps?
While many people try to avoid addressing conflicts, this can often lead to a buildup of anger and resentment. Instead, it’s usually better to face a conflict head-on. Remember that conflict is natural. In fact, research has shown that conflict in a workplace is actually healthy, as it indicates that employees are comfortable voicing concerns or identifying problems, which can lead to positive changes within the company.
It’s important to approach a conflict in the right way, though. When in conflict, emotions tend to run high and can escalate quickly. It’s important to enter conflict resolution with the intention of arriving at a solution that works for everyone. Follow these steps to ensure the resolution process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Involve an impartial mediator and set ground rules for acceptable behavior, like listening without interrupting and treating everyone with respect.
- Approach the conversation with the goal of arriving at mutual understanding and identifying a solution rather than “winning” the dispute.
- Listen carefully and respectfully. Every disagreement has two sides. Listening to the other’s experience will help them feel validated and heard, which can help calm the situation and pave the way to a solution. This doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s just showing respect.
- Keep an open mind while listening. Be open to your coworker’s point of view. Acknowledge that your ideas are not always the best, nor are you always right. While it’s tempting to listen in order to identify points you can dispute, instead, listen only to better understand your coworker’s perspective.
- Check that you understood their perspective by summarizing what you believe the other has said. Such as, “what I’m hearing you say is…” This will ensure that there aren’t any further miscommunications happening.
- Describe your perspective without personally attacking your coworker. Try to stay as calm as possible and focus on using “I” statements rather than “you” statements. That is, try not to make accusations or judgments about the other person’s behavior.
- Have the impartial mediator summarize both of your perspectives and ask for everyone to agree on these summaries.
- As a team, brainstorm possible solutions.
- Agree on the best solution for everyone.
- Before leaving the conversation, apologize and thank each other for working to come to a resolution.