Everybody gets stressed out about their job sometimes. It is a simple fact of life. However, regular workplace conflict costs businesses productivity and often discourages employees from investing energy in their work. This makes conflict resolution one of the most important skills for workplace leaders to acquire. Read on to learn key tips to avoid conflict in the workplace as well as the steps for conflict resolution.

Steps to Conflict Resolution

  1. Begin the process by laying down the ground rules of respect and active listening. If nobody lays down those rules, it is easy for the conflict resolution to devolve into a full-blown argument.
  2. Each person describes the origin of the disagreement. Make sure that each person uses “I” statements instead of “you” statements.
  3. The neutral party then summarizes the conflict based on the descriptions the individuals provide. Then, they allow each person to point out where the discrepancies are between stories.
  4. Brainstorm workable solutions to the problem as a group. Make sure to summarize all of the solutions and that everyone agrees that they’re workable.
  5. As a group, pick the best solution. Make sure that everyone agrees on the detail.
  6. Before leaving the room, have the parties on either side of the disagreement shake hands and apologize to one another. Additionally, encourage them to thank one another for working toward a solution.

Important Things To Remember

Other than taking the necessary steps, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Pick Your Battles

First and foremost, not every disagreement turns into an argument. If a small disagreement occurs, in all likelihood, the employees will resolve it. There is no need to shuttle every hurt feeling into a mediation meeting. Sometimes people have bad days or feel a lot of stress and act out of character. If an employee is generally good-natured and unproblematic, any disagreement they engage in is out of character. Give them time to repair any missteps.

There are three main categories of workplace conflict that need conflict resolution.

  • The conflict is an ongoing issue that interrupts work. Sometimes the most damaging disagreements are not big blow outs, but rather little ones that carry on for a long time.
  • Sometimes though, there are big arguments, in scale or number of people. Those also need addressing.
  • Finally, any conflict that stems from discrimination must go through mediation. It is possible that some members of the work force need sensitivity training.

Encourage Direct Communication

One of the best ways to avoid an argument or solve an argument that is ongoing is with direct communication. Remind everyone that speaking directly, but not rudely, is much easier than dragging an argument through mediation.