In a group of people working together with varying personalities and opinions, sooner or later, a conflict will arise. These may be because the persons involved see the situation differently or because they cannot agree. There are many reasons why issues occur. But this is not necessarily bad. It can be productive—when you know how to handle conflict at work properly!
5 Ways to Handle Conflict at Work
Identify the source
Why did the problem occur in the first place? Before you go dealing with the situation, identify first where it came from and why it happened. There are different sources of conflict; it could be interpersonal, organization, change-related, or caused by external factors.
Look beyond the situation
Often, it is the perception of the event that causes a problem. A simple comment may be perceived the wrong way, causing anger to fester, eventually leading to an issue. Talk with each person involved and listen carefully. The source of the problem might be a minor problem that occurred months before, but the level of stress has grown to the point where the parties involved began attacking each other personally instead of addressing the real problem.
Ask for suggestions
After thoroughly understanding the situation, ask the parties involved how they could resolve the problem. Asking them for suggestions on how to resolve the conflict allows cooperation. Question the parties to get their ideas: “How can you make things better (between you)?”
Find a compromise
Follow through with the solution where both parties agree. As a mediator, you have to be an active listener, aware of the verbal nuance and body language. Make sure that whatever solution you decided to implement is the solution that both parties agree on wholeheartedly.
After resolving the problem, what is next? You need to have constant communication, not with just the parties previously involved, but with your whole team. Many conflicts result from lacking and faulty communication or misinformation. Do not let that happen again (as much as possible)!
Having conflict or dealing with conflict can be stressful. If you follow these tips, along with avoiding making common conflict management mistakes, you are good to go!