Effective management of others requires at least a general knowledge of dealing with conflict resolution. No one in management can escape the fact that sometimes disagreements erupt between employees, and sometimes, those at the management level may find themselves directly involved with the disagreement. Whether involved or not, they must know how to get the situation under control and then resolve the issue effectively.
Following are five tips for resolving conflict in the workplace. These are the most basic elements of conflict resolution that everyone at the management level must understand.
Determine the Threat to the Wants and Desires of the Disagreeing Parties
People do not fight for no reason at all. Most times, the immediate things being argued over have nothing to do with the real root of the tension. The more intense and emotional the disagreement becomes, the more you can rest assured that one or more basic needs are being threatened on both sides.
For instance, two employees are fighting over whose turn it is to change the toner in the copier. They both stand their ground and it turns into a lot of petty arguments and tense moments in the office. It appears they are upset over copy changing duties, but in fact one employee feels they are being used and stepped on because the extra work they do around the office goes unacknowledged.
If you can find the deeper need or desire that is riding the coattails of the problem, you will be able to effectively solve the problem.
Listen to Everyone
Make it clear to everyone involved that you hear what they are saying and understand their position. Do this even if you know they are wrong or you cannot give them what they want. Just knowing that they are being heard and understood can take the spit out of many angry people. They may not step down and give up the fight, but they should calm down and start thinking a bit more rationally if things are overly heated.
You may not be able to give each person what they want out of the resolution, but they should know that they were listened to and understood.
You Must Remain Calm
No matter how out of control others may get, it is important that you remain as in control of your emotions as possible. Even if you are directly involved in the disagreement or are the target of insults and accusations, you have to remain very calm. This will have a calming effect on others and can prevent things from getting out of control.
Never Avoid or Ignore Conflict
You must always tackle workplace conflict as soon as it is detected. The longer you wait the worse it can get and the more difficult it will be to find a compromise. Get in the mix right away and find a solution as quickly as possible.
Never Hold Past Conflicts or Problems over Someone’s Head
Once a resolution is found for a conflict, it is important that they do not feel the conflict follows them around forever. Once a solution is reached everyone should abide by the agreement and the disagreement should be allowed to pass. This is how you rebuild morale and bring the involved parties back onto one team for a working relationship.