When the word “conflict” is heard, reactions tend to be negative. Often in a situation of conflict, involved parties treat it like a competition. One party is headstrong in believing they're right and the other is wrong. This way lacks collaboration and produces a negative outcome for the organization. Other times, parties will respond to a conflict by avoiding the encounter entirely. They feel if the conflict is ignored, it will merely disappear and conditions will miraculously improve.
These two approaches are unhealthy for both the organization and the individuals involved. The solution to approaching a conflict is to see it as learning experience and for the two parties to connect and grow.
The following steps can help your employees glide through a sticky situation.
- Explore reasons: Use open-ended questions to determine the opposing parties’ views on the conflict, encouraging a progressive discussion and the acknowledgement of all concerns.
- Explain the responsibilities: The opposing parties in the conflict need to solve the dispute in a professional matter. As a leader, you may need to help with mediation, but the opposing sides must own the outcomes.
- Ensure a learning experience: Explore the conflict from a process point of view. State the conflict so both parties are aware of the other’s perception. Explore any objections or obstructions that may be present and encourage the parties to participate in the solution of the conflict.
This three-step approach to conflict resolution is more positive than the aforementioned tactics of avoiding the issue or treating the conflict like a competition. It allows parties to connect, gain insight, and grow from each other. Improve working relationships and effectively resolve conflict in the future using this method.
Mike Moore is HVAC training director at HVAC Learning Solutions, HVAC industry experts in sales, technical, and business training. Visit Mike's blog for more insights. Mike can be reached on Twitter @hvaclearning or on Google+ at gplus.to/hvactraining.