Working together with people can be tough. It’s inevitable that when two or more work side by side, day after day, they will experience conflict and start wearing on each others’ nerves.
The wrong approach to conflict
Most people don’t handle conflict well. They usually pursue one of three strategies, none of them leading to positive results.
- Some avoid the person and/or issue, meaning things never get resolved.
- Others get overly aggressive and escalate the situation into a big fight which at best is uncomfortable and at worst can permanently damage relationships.
- Still others become passive-aggressive, turning to gossip or sarcasm. This not only doesn’t solve the problem, it usually gets a lot more people mixed up in the dispute.
Conflict resolution strategies
In the training I provide, participants learn a positive approach to dealing with conflict and the people with whom they find it difficult to work. The key skills I want people to use when they leave include the following:
- Analyze the situation so that they can make a better decision about what action, if any, they should take.
- Prepare for a difficult conversation to increase the odds things will go well.
- Express concerns and their point of view in a manner that reduces the chances the other person will become defensive.
- Respond skillfully to a person who is defensive or overly aggressive.
- Listen respectfully to gain a better understanding of what’s really going on.
- Follow a standard problem solving process to give tough conversations some structure.
If conflict is tearing things up within your department, let’s discuss your situation and build the perfect solution to restore a healthy and harmonious workplace.