The art of resolving conflict in the workplace
And, according to audiences, one of the most interesting components of those workshops is the section on “The Art of Conflict Resolution.”
I suppose the reason is that for most of us, working in a close business relationship can be both delicate and confusing.
Just how do we resolve potential conflict in environments where we are working closely with others?
Each of us has opinions on matters that can affect the work environment or the ongoing functioning of our place of employment. Some people seem to be innately more forceful than others.
Others have opinions on matters that they feel are definitely better than the status quo, or perhaps more organizationally efficient than those of others in the group. And, they feel so strongly about them that it can become difficult to continue a meeting that may have begun as a pleasant experience.
In staff meetings, and on the job, just how can we best handle the loudest and most demanding of the group?
Here are some suggestions that can help those who desire to keep matters moving in a positive and constructive direction:
1. Keep a sense of humor.
2. Do not become emotional! Never get into a shouting match over issues, no matter how close they are to you. If you do, you will only regret it later.
3. Let others know how you feel, but do it with respect and civility.
4. Don’t expect others to read your mind.
5. Never – never – take a cheap shot, no matter how good it might make you feel at the moment.
6. Don’t make a big deal out of a trivial issue. If you start to, ask yourself “What is the reason?”
7. If you are the leader of the group, give honest and sincere appreciation for other persons’ opinions, and let them know that they will be taken into consideration.
8. Talk in terms of what the other person wants and help her/him achieve it to the degree possible – within reason.
9. If you see an argument on the horizon, become a good listener instead. Let the other person vent while you listen quietly. The person venting may resolve the concern on their own while you are listening.
10. It’s important to know when to let an argument go. If we can’t come to an agreement, then we can simply agree to disagree. Then, disengage and move on. Remember, it takes two to keep an argument going.
11. Remember, no one ever wins an argument. Truthfully, have you?
12. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
13. Do whatever is possible to help the other person save face. No matter how wrong we might think the other person is, we only destroy ego and potentially good working relationships by embarrassing the other person and hurting their dignity.
14. Hurting someone’s dignity can be extremely damaging to an otherwise positive working relationship.
15. And, remember: You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong.