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Conflict resolution is exactly what it sounds like: the act of resolving conflict. In a connected workplace with all sorts of personalities, preferences, skills, and cultures, conflict is bound to arise.
In our conflict resolution webinars and seminars, you and your team can discover how to productively navigate, resolve, and learn from conflicts. Equip yourself for productive conflict resolution with consensus-building tools, mediating strategies, and active-listening tips. Our training events provide hands-on, engaging opportunities to foster a civil, open, and respectful workplace.
The workplace can feel threatening, hostile, and unhealthy if tensions are high, communication is lacking, or people don’t feel like they can express themselves. Fostering a culture where employees feel comfortable bringing up issues and are equipped to work together to solve those issues can improve retention, morale, and your bottom line.
Conflicts can be tricky. Added pressures, deadlines and expectations may turn disagreements into shouting matches. And sometimes, there’s no clear solution. But in the end, we all share a workplace, a mission, and an objective. So, the more employees can understand how to get along in sometimes-frantic, sometimes-confusing, sometimes-frustrating times, the better off everyone is.
Here are four basic steps to help you understand the conflict resolution process:
1. Clarify what the conflict actually is.
You need to be sure you’re all talking about the same issue and working toward a solution. Especially in a larger team, or when communication is particularly unclear, you may find that the issue you’re referencing is actually completely different than what your colleague thinks the issue is. Aligning on what you disagree on from the outset helps the entire group move forward productively.
2. Identify a common goal.
There should be a goal that the group works toward. There’s no use arguing if you don’t have an intended outcome. Once you establish a common outcome, working through a resolution is easier.
3. Brainstorm strategies for how you will reach your goal.
This is where you can bring in your point of view. It’s also where you can change your mind, actively listen, and compromise once you hear other perspectives. Of course, this step is not as easy as it sounds. Challenge yourself and your colleagues to maintain an open mind and hear one another out. Even if the solution may seem clear, it’s important for everyone to feel heard and valued.
4. Come to a consensus.
You can find a consensus once you have understood the problem, identified your goal, and constructively debated a solution. You are now in a position to clearly articulate and agree upon a collective solution. Make sure everyone understands the solution and dictate responsibilities for carrying out that solution moving forward.
Dealing with conflict is not always a smooth process. After all, we are human, and conflicts are messy. Keeping these general steps in mind, however, will help you to facilitate a productive conversation with a greater potential for resolution.
North American business culture loves the idea of the powerful individual performer: The visionary CEO pivoting from another industry and leading a super-innovative company; the ultracompetent employee overcoming adversity and rising through the ranks; the wild-eyed entrepreneur seeing every problem as solvable and tackling a giant social issue.