Managing Conflict at Work

Conflict Management:

Everyone experiences conflict – in life and at work.

Why? Because different people are always going to have different points of view and different needs, wants and values.

Differences of opinion are natural and usually need to be openly addressed to avoid tension.

So, what should we do when conflict or differences of opinion arise?

  • Deal with the issue before the situation escalates
  • Talk directly to person(s) concerned
  • Work with people to try and resolve the issue
  • If someone approaches you with an issue, be prepared to confront and work on it
  • Where appropriate, if someone complains to you about another person, encourage them to talk directly to the person involved. Give them the tools to do this through a coaching discussion.

Before you meet with the person

  • Identify the real issue, not just the symptoms/emotions
  • Be prepared to work toward agreeable solutions, not just towards “winning” (or one party winning)
  • Remember that it is not unusual to disagree and that people are quite entitled to do so. You can still find a solution and resolve the conflict.

During the discussion

  • Look at the issue through another ‘lens’ or point of view
  •  Be willing to “own” part of the problem
  • Establish a common goal (a solution) and stay focused on it
  • Define the problem and establish solid facts (yours and theirs)
  • Identify common ground
  • Agree on a common goal
  • Explore all possible solutions and select the solutions that will best meet the needs of both parties
  • Decide on a course of action
  • Summarise the agreed course of action back to ensure that the needs have been met

It is also important to manage the post-conflict situation. Don’t leave it and pretend that it didn’t happen. Follow-up is essential. This may involve checking in to see how the person is feeling and monitoring the situation to ensure agreed actions have actually happened. Then when the matter is truly resolved, it’s time to put it to rest and move on.

We can help to equip your leaders to manage conflict effectively. To find out more you can check out our website at here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Following these guidelines will help you and your team members smooth over and resolve any differences of opinion. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Conflict Management module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today at info@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.