Conflicts with co-workers, supervisors, clients, customers, or vendors are not uncommon in the workplace and can be caused by all kinds of issues. The conflicts may be short-lived and easy to resolve, or they might be highly-charged and confrontational disagreements. No mattter the type of conflict, the outcome will be greatly influenced by the way in which you react.
Being able to successfully resolve conflicts should make your interactions at work more productive and enjoyable. Below are several strategies to help you the next time you face a personal or workplace conflict.
- Once you have acknowledged a conflict, there are 4 possible options to resolve it:
- Win-Win: you and the other person both get something you want or need.
- Win-Lose: You get something you want or need but the other person does not.
- Lose-Win: You do not get what you want or need but the other person does.
- Lose-Lose: Neither you nor the other person get what you want or need.
- A conflict is only resolved when everyone is satisfied with the outcome. In other words, only a Win-Win option will successfully resolve a conflict.
Negotiation is required for a win-win solution. That means talking to the person with whom you have a conflict or are in disagreement. Negotiation can be extremely challenging because you may feel strongly about the issue at hand or you may be extremely frustrated with the other person. And the other person may feel the same way.
The following are tips to help you work successfully with others to achieve a win-win solution to a conflict that meets the needs or wants of all involved:
- Be calm and objective. Don’t attempt to talk to the person if you are upset. Wait until you are calm and relaxed before trying to resolve the conflict.
- Focus on the problem, not on the person. The disagreement is not about the other person, its about something you want or need. Explain the conflict objectively without accusation or supposition. Use explicit details and examples to make your explanation clear.
- Listen to the other person’s explanation without judgment or interruption. Really listen to the other person and hear his or her description of the conflict and explanation.
- Discuss options for settlement of the conflict. Talk to the other person to try to find a solution so that you both get something you want or need. Recognize that it may not be possible for both of you to get everything that you want. You may need to compromise to reach a win-win solution.
- Act on it. Once you idenitfy a win-win solution that is fair and reasonable, put it into practice. Check on the solution to make sure that it continues to meet your needs and wants. If not, negotiate a new or modified solution.
- Acknowledge the conflict. Do not avoid it or denies its existence.
- Think of ways to approach the conflict that could lead to a win-win solution. A win-win solution is one in which you and the other person both have some of your needs or wants met.
- Negotiate a win-win solution in a calm and reasonable way. Speak honestly and listen openly and without judgement to the other person.
- Make sure that the solution you choose continues to work. If necessary, renegotiate to modify the solution or to find another win-win solution.
Now, get to it . . .
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