Six tools for resolving conflict in the workplace
Just like any part of life, where there are enough different personalities put together in one place for an extended period of time, clashes will occur. When it comes to the workplace, as a manager, you will be expected to be involved in conflict resolution. Here are six tools that will help you in becoming an effective mediator in the workplace.
1. Act fast
It’s imperative that once you are aware of the conflict, you invite the relevant parties to sit down with you separately and privately so that you can all reach a resolution. If possible, try to get another manager or HR personnel to sit with you as a witness.
2. Research the conflict
Be sure to research the conflict at hand thoroughly. This will be helped by hearing separate versions of the conflict first and then sitting together with the relevant parties. As you understand it, write down the basis of the conflict and possible resolutions to be put forward to the parties.
3. Listen carefully and take control
The best way to get the parties to open up is to practice “active listening.” While the person is talking, it’s reassuring if you nod and say things like, “I understand” and “go on.” A calm demeanour is imperative to keeping the mood in the room calm so that a resolution can be reached. Don’t allow yourself to be roped into the fight, if it does get heated. If there is interruption, simply assure the person that their turn to talk will be soon and they can write whatever they need to down for their turn.
4. Hear both sides of the story
Both parties need to be given the time and space to voice their sides of the story. This is helpful as it requires both parties to release their tension and to hear what the other has to say without argument. As a mediator, you get to hear the story again and therefore will be able to mediate between the two parties so you can all form a resolution.
5. Celebrate resolution
Once a resolution is met, it’s important that it’s made official with a positive experience. This could mean a group lunch, departmental outing or simply some drinks at work after hours. It will show the company that peace is a desired and valued state of being for the workplace and that, as a manager, you appreciate team work and problem solving.
6. Run workshops
After a conflict resolution, you should think of ways to ensure company morale and relationships between co-workers are positive. Instead of waiting for the next time a flare-up of opinion happens, organise for your office to take part in conflict in the workplace and conflict resolution workshops or seminars. This way, your office will be educated in these matters and be able to better understand how to deal with them.
By staying calm and getting your employees to sit together to talk about the issue at hand, you are on your way to finding a solution.
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