“Don’t fear conflict; embrace it - it's your job.” While you can try and avoid conflict (bad idea), you cannot escape conflict. The fact of the matter is conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. It will find you whether you look for it or not. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well – the inability to do so may well be your downfall. (Mike Myatt)
Let’s examine these 2 major causes of conflict:
The following tips will help to more effective handle conflicts in the workplace:
1: Realize that conflicts are inevitable at work
Whenever people are engaged, committed and fired up, conflict and disagreement is bound to happen. This doesn’t mean you have to revel in conflict or create trouble just for the hell of it, but it does mean that when conflict happens it’s not the end of the world. The fact that you have a conflict at work does not reflect badly on you – it mostly means that you care enough to disagree strongly.
2: Handle conflict sooner rather than later
This is the single most important tip to successfully resolve conflicts: Do it now! It’s very tempting to wait for a conflict to blow over by itself, but it rarely does – in most cases it only gets worse with time.
In the early stages of a conflict the most powerful tool to resolve it is simple: Ask! If somebody has done something that made you angry, if you don’t understand somebody’s viewpoint, if you don’t understand their actions – ask!
4. Pick Your Battles.
It is also important when asking questions to remember to Pick Your Battles. Human nature makes us want to be right, even to the point of being defensive or arguing points that do not matter in the big picture. It is even fair game to ask the other person, "On a scale of one-to-10, how important is this issue to you?" If an issue is a five to you and a nine to the person you are talking to, it is best to give that point up and use the same scale when an item is really important to you.
5. Avoid the Blame Game.
Assigning blame is only helpful in one instance in problem solving - if you assign it to yourself. Figuring out whose fault something is does not do any good. The trick to resolving clashes is to focus on problem solving, rather than pointing fingers. Focus on the Future, Not the Past.
6. Understanding the WIIFM Factor
Understanding the other professionals WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) position is critical. It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in. The way to avoid conflict is to help those around you achieve their objectives. If you approach conflict from the perspective of taking the action that will help others best achieve their goals, you will find few obstacles will stand in your way with regard to resolving conflict.
Practical steps to resolve conflict at work:
There is no guarantee that the method described here will resolve your conflict at work. It may or it may not. But even if it doesn’t work you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve tried. You have risen above the conflict for a while and tried to address it positively and constructively. No one can ask more of you.
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