Conflict is something we deal with almost every day. Especially at the workplace, where we have to deal with massive amounts of tasks. For example, we might not get on well with our colleagues or our boss, and then we get into an interpersonal conflict. Either way, when we face such situations, it can be very disturbing and stressful, which eventually can affect our physical and mental health. However, conflicts are necessary and may actually improve your relationships with your colleagues or boss. It may be hard to believe in, but they are actually a part of your success. It’s all about your own attitude towards them. Conflicts are an inalienable part of leadership in general, that’s why HR managers of all successful companies pay so much attention to conflict management and resolution. However, only keeping a conflict “healthy” is the way to build successful relationships at workplace. Healthy conflicts are all built on mutual respect and possibility to talk it over. But what can you do, if negotiation is out of the question and it seems like conflict itself has hit a dead end? Here are top 5 tips for effective conflict resolution.
1. Acknowledge That Conflict Exists
Avoiding the conflict doesn’t make it magically disappear. Let’s assume that you are conflicted with your colleague over doing some task. You decide to remain silent and let things slide. However, you will never get rid the feeling of being uncomfortable and eventually, you’ll feel like you don’t belong anymore. Avoiding the conflict will make you feel trapped and this feeling will haunt you even when you get home from work so don’t run away from it; acknowledge that the conflict exists and start working on its resolution.
2. Identify The Problem
Determining the problem is the starting point necessary for successful conflict resolution. Marie Doucey, International Security Policy specialist, states that identifying the root of the conflict is crucial even for resolving conflicts on an international level. So why should you focus on the very core of the conflict? Don’t cure the symptoms, analyze them and find the cause that has triggered the whole problem. Sit down and write all reasons you have on your mind that might have caused the conflict – you may even write an analytical piece, breaking the whole situation down into pieces and then analyzing every part of it.
3, Respect Differences Of Opinion
It’s time to put your ego aside. The only way you can sit down and negotiate the problem is respecting the opinion of the opposite party. “Always remember that we all have different opinions about everything, including business,” says Mona Wright, a well known essay writer: “Years of working with clients and partners taught me that if you demand the respect towards your thoughts and viewpoints, then you should do the same and respect the opinions of others.” The necessity of mutual respect in conflict resolution is undisputable. Jefferson M. Fish, Ph.D. and psychologist, emphasizes that tolerance, acceptance and understanding are the three pillars of conflict resolution. Don’t ignore this fact and quietly hear your opponent out.
4. Look For Shared Opinions
Finding common ground is very important if you want to resolve the conflict effectively. Common ground is a powerful negotiation technique, necessary for successful leadership. Even President Trump and Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, have found their common ground to cooperate, despite their obvious differences. The best way you can do this is to invite your opponent for a healthy and calm negotiation, sit down and talk it over. Explain that it’s time to leave your emotions aside and focus on what you have in common in this conflict. This will show your respect towards your opponent and your willingness to work on solving the problem.
5. Leave Personal Dislikes Aside
It’s time you left your disaffection towards your opponent aside. Your viewpoints will definitely be more meaningful if you de-personalize them. Besides, this will increase your chances to resolve the conflict and improve relationships with your opponent. And don’t even consider accusing others of starting a conflict. Psychologists say that playing the blame game is not only ineffective when it comes to resolving the conflict, but it can actually affect your mental health. Besides, don’t blame your opponent for not initiating conflict resolution. If you do it first, it will only show how considerate and smart you are.
As you can see, resolving a conflict is very complicated and takes much time and effort. However, if you keep being positive about it, resolving the conflict will only benefit you and your relationships with your colleagues. In the long run, it will show your excellent leadership skills and your willingness to build strong relationships with your team. So good conflict management skills can help you build a successful career! So, if there is a conflict between you and your colleagues, don’t let it haunt you, regain control over the situation and start forming relationships, built on honesty and mutual respect.