At a business conference, a question was asked about the types of businesses that were more likely to reach their true potential. It was debated that only businesses that value and embrace an inclusive approach to relationships will experience growth and efficiency. The reverse will be the case for businesses or organisations whose relations with their stakeholders and shareholders are often characterized by conflict.
Relating with others is central to our existence as human beings and as business or team leaders. However, in relating with people, one thing is unavoidable–conflict. As such, conflict resolution skills are a must-have to help people get along and to increase productivity and growth in businesses and workplaces.
Arming yourself with conflict resolution skills will improve your leadership skills as well as your personal and professional relationships.
- As much as people would like to avoid conflict, it is inevitable in almost every place where people mingle and work together. As such, it is expedient to acquire conflict resolution skills to be able to handle working relationships amongst friends, co-workers, employees or management team.
- Conflict resolution skills refer to the ability to assist disputants in reaching a resolution.
- Conflict resolution skills are necessary because they improve interpersonal communication, reduce stress, and boost job satisfaction in the workplace.
What is Conflict Resolution?
Conflict resolution is the process by which two or more aggrieved parties come together to reach a truce over a problem or challenge.
Better communication, increased workplace morale, and the prevention of productivity interruptions are some of the advantages that are experienced when conflict resolution skills are applied to disputes.
Examples of Major Conflict Resolution Skills
1. Active Listening
The power of active listening goes a long way to facilitate a resolution. Active listening is a skill that is required to comprehend the nature of a conflict. Although salesmen frequently employ this skill, it is a crucial skill for any leader in the workplace and in business. Your nonverbal and verbal cues are what show the speaker that you are paying attention. You are not actively paying attention if you are looking away or concentrating on anything else while listening to the speaker. As a result, you may not hear or understand essential parts of the dialogue and misinterpret what is being said.
Active listening means concentrating on the speaker in order to fully comprehend the information being conveyed. It’s crucial to retain an open mind when listening to the speaker.
Also, to demonstrate that you understand the message being transmitted, repeat the words you have heard to the speaker. And when you’re not sure of what the speaker has said, you should ask questions to clarify.
2. Emotional Intelligence
The ability to understand your own and others’ emotions is referred to as emotional intelligence. You can effectively handle a situation if you are acquainted with emotional intelligence skills. When challenging situations are handled with emotional intelligence, the problem is less likely to get out of control. Emotional intelligence is a skill that helps people think clearly and logically to solve problems and reduces confusion, heated disputes, and out-of-control tempers.
When it comes to resolving problems, patience is a crucial skill. This is due to the difficulty of resolving conflicts. Parties involved in a conflict often believe their viewpoints or beliefs are correct. As a result, you’ll need to devote time to listening to all of the people involved and giving their viewpoint equal weight.
Do not rush to a settlement in order to avoid having any unhappy parties after hearing both sides of the arguments. Consider both sides of the argument thoughtfully before attempting to reach a resolution.
A mediator in conflict situations is a neutral party. A mediator listens to both sides without passing judgment. A mediator’s perspective is objective in a conflict situation. By maintaining an impartiality stand, a mediator is able to facilitate an effective resolution. Mediators can be trained professionals or someone who is not part of the conflict situation.
5. Problem-Solving Skills
Applying problem solving skills to conflict resolution requires that you help the parties involved work together as collaborators and not see each other as opponents. The aim of a problem solving approach is to reach a win-win situation for the parties involved.
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Tips For Applying Conflict Resolution Skills
- Before attempting to brainstorm a solution, take the time to understand each side’s perspectives.
- Acknowledge and underline the root cause of the conflict. Pinpointing the root cause can help to find a solution that prevents a recurrence of the conflict.
- Set Ground Rules: The purpose of establishing ground rules is to prevent angry outbursts that could disrupt the process. You may have to remind each party not to take the conflict personally and manage their emotions in the process to avoid angry outbursts or remarks that can trigger them.
- Reach a resolution plan that is beneficial to both parties. It’s important for everyone to stick to the resolutions agreed upon. In situations where the conflict persists and the resolution agreed upon was not adhered to, a third party should be involved. In the workplace, this could be the HR manager or the employee relations officer.
Maintaining an Open Line of Communication After Resolving A Conflict
It is rare for a relationship that has been drifted by conflict to return to the way it has been. After resolving the conflict, such a relationship needs to be nurtured in a way that will prevent such problems from coming up again.
To ensure a healthy relationship between parties after resolving a conflict, an open line of communication should be maintained. Doing so creates room for the parties involved to hold one another accountable to the agreements reached. Also, maintaining open lines in communication helps parties to resolve any other issues that may arise after conflicts have been resolved without jeopardizing the earlier success achieved.
Conflict is often seen as a bad thing. However, when we look at conflict from a different perspective, it affords people the opportunity to work together to solve differing issues. In other words, conflict is a healthy part of any kind of relationship. Conflicts engineers the opportunity for people to negotiate their needs and expectations with others.
Final Thoughts on Conflict Resolution
Conflict is a natural part of life. Whenever there are multiple stakeholders who care deeply about a project, product or event, conflict is sure to happen. Instead of looking at conflict as something that needs to be avoided instead, look at it as just another step in the process. Hopefully, these conflict resolution skills help you the next time you are trying to solve a problem at home, work or in life in general.