Should conflicts arise at work, it is essential to have conflict resolution skills to promote unity. Conflict resolution skills include:
- Being an active listener
- Having patience for others
- Effectively communicating your point of view and allowing others to do the same
- Keeping a positive mindset and attitude
- Remaining unbiased if you are mediating a conflict among others
- The three main types of disputes include employees, supervisors and employees, or employees and customers.
Everyone is different. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for people to have differences in opinions and points of view. These differences are what make collaborating successful, but also why problems happen once in a while. This is why conflict resolution skills are essential, especially in business. When employees are unable to work together, conflicts can arise. This can lead to company’s being unable to achieve their goals and have a high employee turnaround.
Conflicts are inevitable, but conflict resolution skills can make the conflict less destructive. When conflict arises in the workplace, it’s important to consider your words and phrasing carefully. This is because many conflicts arise from misunderstandings or miscommunication. Whether you’re trying to stop a conflict or resolve one that has already started, there are several conflict resolution skills that you should know about.
In this article, we will go over some of these skills as well as provide examples of how they could be implemented when dealing with conflict in the workplace!
What is Conflict Resolution?
Conflict resolution is a prevention and handling strategy. It involves trying to resolve conflicts by understanding why the conflict exists in the first place, what it’s really about, and how you can approach it so that both parties are happy with its outcome. This means talking things out rather than ignoring them or letting small issues grow into larger ones! Conflict resolution is successful when parties put their differences aside to be productive.
Most Common Conflicts the Occur in the Workplace
The three most common examples of workplace conflict are:
- Between employees in a business
- Amongst managers and employees
- Between employees of a business and its clients
11 Core Conflict Resolution Skills
Here is the list of the 10 most important conflict resolution skills as chosen by our team here at Professional Leadership Institute.
1. Be an Active Listener
One of the most essential practical conflict resolution skills is active listening. To be an active listener, one must be focused on what the other person is saying. Rather than listening to respond, you must listen to understand the other person’s point of view. This will help you move past any confusion to get closer to a solution.
- Listen to why the other person is upset
- Make sure you understand what the other person is telling you
- Do not interrupt when the other person is talking
- Repeat what you heard back to them to understand better
2. Have Patience for Others
Next on our list of conflict resolution skills is having patience. Sometimes, challenges or disputes can be rushed towards a solution. Therefore, you must practice patience. Everyone wants to be correct and have their opinion validated. Therefore, you will need to consider all points of view and have patience until a problem is solved correctly.
3. Effective Communication
When coming to a solution, communication is key. Therefore, to have conflict resolution skills that are effective, you must be willing to talk openly with others. When a problem or dispute arises, all parties need to give their point of view. This also helps promote healthy partnerships where transparency is valued.
4. Keep an Optimistic Mindset
Another skill that individuals should have when solving a problem is to have an optimistic mindset. During challenges, it is easy to become pessimistic. Therefore, when we remain positive, we can keep the conversation moving towards solving the problem rather than hit more issues along the way.
5. Remain Unbiased at all Times
Lastly, another one of the critical conflict resolution skills that you should practice is remaining unbiased. By being impartial, one must separate the problem from those involved. Look at the challenges or disputes at hand and focus on working through each hurdle rather than the personalities of each person.
6. Don’t take things personally
When conflict arises at work, many people take it personally. As a result, they will become defensive and look to protect themselves rather than focusing on the issue that is in front of them. Therefore, when conflict happens do not get personal with what is being said or done during this time.
7. Observe the body language of others
Not only conflict resolution skills, but nonverbal communication is important to keep in mind. If you disagree with someone or something they said, it might be easy for them to get the wrong idea about your stance on this topic if you don’t say anything at all! So do not just stand there and let things continue – speak up and communicate that what was said does not reflect how you feel/what you want. You can start by saying: “I hear what you’re saying…” Then go from there depending on where the conversation takes place!
8. Focus on the current problem
If you just focus on what happened in the past, there is no way that a solution will be found. In fact, dwelling on old challenges can result in even more issues cropping up so keep your head up and look towards resolving this issue!
9. Don’t get baited into reacting emotionally or raising your voice
When conflict arises, if you start to feel yourself going off the deep end it is best to stop and take a step back. The last thing anyone wants is for conflict resolution skills to go out the window because of emotions! So before reacting think about how you want others around you or your organization as a whole will benefit from this conversation being resolved in one way or another.
– Avoid saying: “I’m not emotional.” This implies that someone else might be which can lead to conflict/feels like they’re being attacked; instead say something more factual such as “this feels really important” then move on from there (or avoid using words that bring up feelings altogether).
10. Be humble enough to apologize/forgive the other person
If conflict resolution skills are not being used it is likely because of one thing – no one likes to be wrong. This might lead to conflict if someone doesn’t apologize or recognize that they were at fault for something which can make the other party feel unheard and frustrated. So think about how you would want someone else in your shoes to act, then do just that by saying sorry when necessary!
11. Agree to disagree and move forward
No conflict resolution skill is more important than this one – learning how to be okay with not having the perfect solution, especially when it comes down to working together as a team!
A good way to resolve conflict in the workplace is to ask the question. “Does your behaviour violate our core values?” Using your company’s core values as the ultimate truth for what is acceptable behaviour is a good way of preventing conflicts. Take our free course preview on “Discovering and Implementing Your Core Values”
Phrases to Avoid Saying
– Avoid using words like never or always; these are absolute terms that will most likely create conflict/feelings of disagreement (ex: “You’re never on time.”) instead use more specific language such as “rarely” or “sometimes.”
– Avoid word choice such as nagging/lecturing so avoid like “you should have known better” or “you should have done better.”
– Avoid using “you” or personal pronouns when talking about someone else because these are insulting/hurtful; instead use names or neutral terms to describe them (ex: partners)
Strategies to Help You Resolve Active Conflicts
Now that we’ve gone over some of the most essential conflict resolution skills let’s look at how you can resolve any conflict effectively. This can work in both personal and work settings.
1. Stay as Calm as Possible
When dealing with a problem or dispute, it is common to feel frustration. The most important thing to do is remain as calm as possible. Take a few deep breaths and approach the situation at hand with a clear mind.
2. Discuss the Conflict in Private
The next thing you should do is find a private space where you can discuss the conflict. All parties involved should be able to sit comfortably in their own area throughout the room.
3. Acknowledge the Conflict
Once everyone is comfortable, you should then acknowledge that there is a problem at hand. This is where you can use some of your conflict resolution skills. All people to speak their minds respectfully and listen actively. Get to learn people’s perspectives and learn why the problem has come to be.
4. Agree to Work Together to Find a Solution
Now that everyone has given their point of view, all parties need to agree to find a solution. This will only occur when people work together to resolve the problem at hand.
5. Learn to Compromise and Build a Plan
When coming up with a plan of action, all parties must learn to compromise. You must put aside your differences and prioritize the solution. Therefore, it’s essential to realize that your point of view may not be accepted entirely or at all.
6. Follow-Up With all Parties Involved
Once the resolution has been reached, you should then make an effort to check in with all employees to make sure the agreement is working. This ensures employees know what is expected of them. It also allows you to make changes if something is not working.
7. Speak with Your HR Department
If employees refuse to follow the solution plan, the best course of action is to contact your HR department should the conflict escalate. They will then use their own conflict resolution skills to see if a resolution can be found. Alternatively, they will utilize other forms of methods to ensure the problem does not occur again.