The Five Steps to Conflict Resolution
Jan 24, 2019
Is there a correct way to handle conflict? What are the effects of poor conflict management? Conflict in the workplace might be inevitable, as employees have different personalities, goals, and opinions. Conflict management is one of the core trainings we offer for managers and supervisors. Learning how to handle conflict efficiently is a necessary skill for anyone in management and the key to preventing it from hindering employees' professional growth. Conflict resolution is only a five-step process:
Step 1: Identify the source of the conflict. The more information you have about the cause of the conflict, the more easily you can help to resolve it. To get the information you need, use a series of questions to identify the cause, like, “When did you feel upset?” “Do you see a relationship between that and this incident?” “How did this incident begin?”
As a manager or supervisor, you need to give both parties the chance to share their side of the story. It will give you a better understanding of the situation, as well as demonstrate your impartiality. As you listen to each disputant, say, “I see” or “uh huh” to acknowledge the information and encourage them to continue to open up to you.
Step 2: Look beyond the incident. Often, it is not the situation but the perspective on the situation that causes anger to fester and ultimately leads to a shouting match or other visible—and disruptive—evidence of a conflict.
The source of the conflict might be a minor problem that occurred months before, but the level of stress has grown to the point where the two parties have begun attacking each other personally instead of addressing the real problem. In the calm of your office, you can get them to look beyond the triggering incident to see the real cause. Once again, probing questions will help, like, “What do you think happened here?” or “When do you think the problem between you first arose?”