Tag Archives: conflict resolution

Knowing Yourself: Strategies for Resolving Conflict

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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.

 

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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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:

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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SUMMARY

  • 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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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Resolving Conflict part 2

If you read the post I published yesterday, you know that conflict happens when one person wants or needs something that is contrary to the wants and needs of another person.

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Conflict can happen between individuals or groups of people in our professional lives . . .

 

 

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and in our personal lives.

Conflict can take many different forms. And once conflict is acknowledged, conflict can be handled in many different ways.

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  • Avoiding conflict or letting emotions control one’s response to conflict usually leads to additional or more intense conflict, including hostility and negative attitudes and morale.
  • Positive ways to respond to conflict are more likely to lead to a successful resolution of a disagreement. Further, a positive resolution to a conflict can lead to respect and understanding among employees and a much better outcome for all involved.

EXERCISE: Think back to how you resolved conflicts or disagreements with family, friends, and co-workers. Do you usually feel better or worse after the conflict is over? Why? Have you considered how you might improve your conflict resolution skills?

To help you answer these questions, pick two examples of conflicts you have experienced and answer the questions below:

First example:  A time I DID get what I wanted after a disagreement was . . .



I felt . . .



The other person or people probably felt . . . (you may think the person or people were satisfied with the outcome of the conflict when they were not. Think unemotionally and honestly about how the person or people reacted to you or interacted with you after the conflict to gauge how they may have felt about the outcome.)



I would / would not handle the disagreement differently now because . . .



 

Second example:  A time I DID NOT get what I wanted after a disagreement was . . .



I felt . . .



The other person or people probably felt . . . (you may think the person or people were satisfied with the outcome of the conflict when they were not. Think unemotionally and honestly about how the person or people reacted to you or interacted with you after the conflict to gauge how they may have felt about the outcome.)I would / would not handle the disagreement differently now because . . .



Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Knowing Yourself: Resolving Conflict

fotolia_73699781Wikipedia defines a workplace conflict as “a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between people working together.”

Workplace conflict occurs when one worker’s wants or needs do not match the wants or needs of another worker. Conflict can also occur between employees and supervisors, employees and customers, and employees and vendors/suppiers.

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Ignoring a conflict or denying that it exists can cause tension and turn a minor problem between employees into a major conflict that can affect productivity and morale. Workplace conflict can take many different forms.

Examples are:

  • differing goals or priorities,
  • distinctive styles, methods, or approaches to tasks, and
  • opposing personalities.

The ability to define and resolve conflicts can help you in all manner of personal and professional situations. Acknowledging these conflicts, although difficult at times, can help you to recognize their causes and identify constructive ways to resolve them.

Workplace conflict is stressful and difficult to manage. Rather than acknowledging a  conflict, some employees will deny the existence of the conflict. To do this, these employees may:

  • ignore the problem and hope that it will go away,
  • make excuses or try to justify the reason for the conflict, or
  • underestimate the extent of the conflict.

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These employees are making a mistake.

When employees refuse to acknowledge workplace conflicts, strong emotions such as anger, disappointment, frustration, and anxiety can build over time. Recognizing and acknowledging conflicts as they arise can control and keep minor workplace issues from growing into major ones.

If you find yourself involved in a workplace conflict you should acknowledge the conflict in order to bring it to a successful resolution. Acknowledging a conflict is a necessary step toward the goal of resolving it. To do this, you will need to:

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  1. Define the conflict clearly and objectively
    • Put aside emotions and any judgment about the other person involved in the conflictual situation,
    • Try to see the conflict from the other person’s point of view, and
    • Clearly and specifically identify the cause or causes of the conflict.
  2. Identify areas of agreement and disagreement
    • Identify understandings or goals that you and the other person share;
    • Identify areas of disagreement and contention, and
    • Answer the question, “How do we solve this conflict?
  3. Accurately restate the conflict using important details and examples
    • Once you undestand the conflict, its causes, and areas of agreement and disagreemment, you should restate the conflict in your own words to ensure your understanding of it, and
    • Objectively restate the conflict to the person or person you are having the conflict with to be sure that all people involved have the same understanding of the conflict. Use explicit details and examples to support your understanding of the conflict.

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Communication skills are critical for conflict resolution. Active listening during a conflict requires a great deal of concentration because anger and frustration can be distracting.

  1. Build on what you know. It is important to stop thinking about what you will say next and to put aside emotions so that you can focus on what the speaker is saying. Not listening can make a conflict worse.
  2. Develop your skills. Use listening strategies to identify and follow the speaker’s main points, identify the cause of the conflict, and figure out what is needed to resolve it.
    • Watch and listen for social cues, such as the speaker’s tone of voice, gestures, and other body language.
    • Listen for signal words and phrases that indicate order, cause and effect, or important facts.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know a word or its meaning.
  3. Finally, apply your knowledge to resolve the conflict. For example,
    • You just began working at an office. Supervisor A is very friendly and stops your workspace to greet you in the morning and ask about your family, weekend plans, etc. Supervisor B rarely speaks to you but often takes files off your desk and walks away with them without a word. Supervisor B’s behavior really bothers you.
    • Which of the following actions is the best way to resolve the problem?
      • Tell Supervisor A about the problem.
      • Politely approach Supervisor B about the issue.
      • Do nothing and hope that Supervisor B’s behavior will change.
      • Ask Supervisor A to speak to Supervisor B.
    • By now you should know that ignoring the problem is the worst thing that you can do. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and may have the opposite affect of making the problem worse.
    • You should politely approach Supervisor B about the issue because she probably has no idea that her behavior is creating a conflict with you. Define the problem for Supervisor B, try to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and restate the conflict in your own words.

 

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.