7 Ways to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace.

Are you looking for ways to resolve conflict in the workplace? It’s inevitable that when a group of strangers come together, each tasked with responsibilities and a desire to perform that conflict will occur. The question is never about who is right or wrong but how do you work through conflict effectively, the good thing is that it is a skill that can be taught and polished with time and experience.

Workplace conflict usually occurs between employees, entire teams or between managers or owners.  Regardless of the issue, it’s essential to work towards a resolution as a project, a team or a business depends on everyone working together.  In over 17 years of business, I have had my successes and failures, I have worked closely with strangers, with family and with friends and today I would like to share some tips from experiences.

  1. Embrace It.

When conflict does arise welcome it with open arms. If you don’t tension will build, and you run the risk of conflict in other areas just because issues are left unresolved. Sentiment is a good indicator of possible conflict within a company and you can use tools such as Officevibe to get gauge within of the organisation.

If you do notice a conflict between team members, encourage them to find a way to work it out. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to work on their interpersonal skills, and if it helps to offer to mediate.

  1. Chunk Up.

If you find you’re getting caught up in details, consider taking things back one step and confirm agreement on more significant items then move forward. It helps to align people and can support momentum to a resolution.

  1. Focus on Strengths.

When you’re looking to resolve conflict in the workplace, you need to consider where it may come from. I have found that at its core people are working to their strengths or being placed in a position where they are having to apply weaker skills. Using tools such as the Clifton Strengths Indicator within a company is a great way to learn about each other’s strengths and how you can position people to succeed. Most importantly it helps highlight where conflict may be stemming.

  1. Talk.

You may need to set up a time for further discussion and without interruptions. If you do, it’s crucial that each person has the opportunity to voice their side and it’s ok to discuss each of you may feel about the situation. After all, it’s not a blame game you are both there to resolve a matter and move forward.

  1. Listen.

To resolve conflict in the workplace it’s essential to offer your full attention to hearing what the other side has to offer.  To do this you must feedback what you’re hearing, for example, you might say “I want to make sure I understand. The concern you have is ____ and the outcome you’re after is ______”

I was taught that we have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak. When applied you’re able to demonstrate that you’re interested in and capable of understanding someone’s position and only by doing so you’re able to work towards a resolution.

  1. Agree then Agree again.

You have come together because you don’t agree so it’s important to find areas to agree on. These may be small and insignificant to start with but serve to build rapport and open people up to the resolution.

Highlighting commonalities,  complimenting someone’s work or recognising ideas are good ways to start before you move into areas that you disagree on.

  1. Water under the Bridge.

When you’re going to resolve conflict in the workplace you have to have a clear resolution. This involves acknowledgement of positions, feelings and the impact on reputation. Apologise for the conflict and find a way to move forward that ensures you’re both happy and no stone is left unturned.

In the end, I see conflict as an opportunity to step up and set an example to the entire organisation. You can apply critical thinking, sharing of opinions and when resolved well you’re able to demonstrate that you can work through adversity and come out better for it.  Supportive offers a wellness tracker and online counselling for companies looking for something more than an engagement tool. If you’re interested in learning more click here.