In every business, a degree of conflict between employees is inevitable. You might even say it is a healthy part of all interpersonal relationships.
After all, you cannot expect to agree with everyone all of the time. And since conflicts are to some extent unavoidable, having a positive strategy for dealing with them is absolutely vital. If these disagreements or clashes in personality are not managed correctly from the beginning, it can lead to much bigger problems further on.
However, if dealt with in a positive and respectful fashion, conflicts can in fact provide an opportunity for growth, understanding and even increased productivity and creativity in the future.
By learning how to deal with conflicts in a positive way, you will ensure that the relationships of your employees remain strong in the future.
Healthy and Unhealthy Ways to Manage Conflict
All conflicts arise from differences between individuals and accordingly, they can be very personal, no matter how trivial they may appear on the surface. Therefore, the way in which you manage them is of utmost importance. If managed in an unhealthy manner, conflicts can escalate, leading to anger, resentment and an inability to continue any form of working relationship.
However, when resolved in a healthy way, conflicts can in fact be a positive thing; they may lead to an increased understanding of one another, trust and strengthening of interpersonal relationships.
In essence, healthy conflict resolution involves helping those involved to recognise the emotional implications of their disagreement with one another. If you are able to get the individuals concerned to understand and even empathise with how the conflict has affected the other person, you are half way to resolving the conflict in a healthy an positive fashion.
Key Skills for Resolving Conflicts
The first thing you need to do is to calm both of the parties down. People say and do irrational and hurtful things when they are stressed so the first priority is relieving some of this initial tension. Sometimes a good way to break the ice is to use humour.
Putting a humorous spin on the situation can deescalate the conflict at hand. This approach draws attention away from the conflict itself and helps the individuals to see the senselessness in arguing or attacking each other. Once this is achieved, you will obviously still need to deal with the issues at hand. In doing this, be as non-judgemental as possible, being an attentive listener without becoming involve in the conflict itself.
Clear communication on the part of those involved is essential, so you will need to encourage this and not allow the individuals to engage in another heated debate. This approach should help you to deal with most situations.
If however you find that dealing with conflict does not come naturally to you, for the benefit of your business it might be worth considering outside training. If you feel such a service might be beneficial for you or members of your firm, visit Watt Works Consulting Ltd for more advice.