Do you know that there is no law anywhere in the world that says: ‘If you don’t like someone, you have to take it upon yourself to make the workplace a living hell for them.‘ Be it a conflict at your home or someone not agreeing with you at work, when the other person seems irksome, giving them a piece of our minds seems like the only logical course of action. Although deep down, we realize that this conflict resolution strategy never helps anyone. In fact, it often aggravates matters. In a corporate environment, conflict resolution strategies entail serious negotiation skills and deep-found patience.
A survey conducted by Gallup reminds us that over 70% of employees leave work due to a negative environment, leaving it to the leaders to devise conflict resolution strategies.
Before you begin, it’s important to understand the root cause of the conflict.
Conflict rises due to various possible reasons. Understand the essence of the essence, who is involved, and what conspired in the aftermath. Listen to both the parties. First do it separately, then bring both the parties involved face-to-face and follow these conflict resolution strategies.
Describe Conflict to Both the Parties
At this moment, it is not advised to let the hostile parties engage in dialogue. As you’ve listened to both sides, you are in a better position to decide why the conflict arose in the first place.
As you explain, ensure that you exhibit impartiality towards both the parties. Normally, it is not the situation itself that triggers a conflict; it is how people react to it.
Mostly, the conflict is just the closure. The spark is ignited months before which finally erupts into flame over the minutest provocation. The best approach is to ask thoughtful questions, such as ‘Why do you think this has happened?’, ‘When do you think the discord took seed?’ Questions like these will help people ponder over the situation at hand and move them towards resolution.
Avoid Raising Any Tension
When dealing with people, try to get as many ‘Yes’s out of them as you can. If you’re able to get three ‘Yes’s at the start of a conversation, the person will feel a little relaxed as this will give an impression of understanding and moving forward.
When we threaten someone, we might get their attention. But this is a negative kind of attention which never bears well. There are a time and place for everything. The best time to disagree with someone is after the situation has subsided. When the iron is hot, why bother picking up the hammer at all. Let the iron cool down before hitting slowly to leave a mark.
Humans have a tendency to react to situations the way they are treated. Normally, people don’t respond well to threats. The situation falls into an escalatory spiral that quickly gets out of hand.
Here is a psychological trick to get a nod from anyone:
Eliminate the ‘Us Vs. Them’ Mentality
Be it is a conflict within a team or one involving different departments, it is important to find a common goal to break the ice.
Begin the resolution process by highlighting the common points that you share which can lead to a sustainable agreement. Inquire both the people to identify common ground and begin the match from that point.
The more points you both have in common, the easier it becomes to resolve the issue faster. Now instead of taking any sides, ask them to agree upon a common point. Something which can make both the parties walk out peacefully.
Look Beyond What is Being Said
Most of the conflict resolution strategies start getting fruitful when the mediator starts reading between the lines. Mostly, the deepest conflicts involve financials. The low-level employees often get exasperated when their family is brought in to the conversation. While on the higher-level employees, conflicts mostly occur over a case of hurt ego.
When money is involved, there is no win-win situation.
If one wins, the other party loses. The best approach is to listen to the grievances of both the people and address each of them with patience. Do you know that listening alone can resolve half the conflict?
Brainstorm for Possible Resolutions
You must move towards a resolution which both parties can agree on.
Ensure that there are no sacred and pseudo-sacred issues. If so, request both the parties to stop and keep the religious talk to themselves.
If you agree with something, good. If not, no need to run berserk. In fact, sit with them and ask them how both will agree without hurting anyone.
If the conflict is personal. You can ask both to apologize and never discuss their family problems with anyone.
It is important that both the person agree on a single point. It is then that both will move towards a common ground.
When you brainstorm possible resolutions, it will not be yours to suggest, they both will come up with something which is a result of agreement. And the best strategy is to bring it in writing if the conflict is severe.
Over to you
Mostly, when it comes to conflict resolutions strategies, the best solution is one that is best for both sides. Of course, that’s not always possible to find, but you should use all your resources to solve your conflict as smoothly as you can.