Mastering Office Conflict Resolution

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Those equipped with office conflict resolution skills are highly sought by office industry employers. Conflict is part of life and is neither good nor bad. How we choose to respond and manage conflict will determine how it will affect our lives and business operations. Toxic responses like avoidance or aggressive confrontation will result in negative consequences, poor morale and rising levels of conflict. Office conflict resolution is therefore a vital skill for office managers to develop.

Develop your office resolution skills today by choosing the conflict resolution course that best suits you.

Industry leaders have grown to recognize that people managers who either avoid conflict resolution or lack the emotional intelligence to address it properly have a detrimental effect upon the workplace. Modern industry today is seeking workplace supervisors and managers that have the capacity and will to apply the proper conflict resolution principles. This is precisely why office conflict resolution is a highly sought-after skill.

Office conflict resolution relies upon the ability to instigate difficult conversations. There are three difficult types of conversations that office managers will need to have at some time. These are:

  • What happened? This involves getting to the heart of the matter and establishing what was intended as opposed to what occurred. Many conflicts are liable to get out of hand because conclusions are drawn about a person’s intent.
  • Exploring feelings. Conflict often presses people’s hot buttons. Good office conflict resolution negotiators allow people the space and time to express their feelings about a certain situation
  • Honest feedback. How we are perceived by others can impact our own sense of self. Honest feedback can challenge people’s perceptions of how they are viewed in areas such as competence, ethics and respect. Giving honest feedback (both good and bad) while maintaining respect can at times be challenging.

Developing emotional intelligence will help supervisors and managers to build the confidence and skills for resolving workplace conflict.

Managing Workplace Conflict

It is important to recognize that conflict involves emotional responses and often what appears to be a rational solution can do more harm than good. Emotionally intelligent managers will recognize that workplace conflict needs to be addressed in a fair and reasonable way by introducing effective office conflict resolution strategies.

Regardless of your current position, office conflict resolution is a valuable skill that will help you to stand out because few people can manage conflict well. If you can ensure conflicts occur in a healthy manner, your efforts will help to improve creativity, promote positive relationships, and improve overall job satisfaction. The following tips will assist you with reconciling disagreements between others, resolving a quarrel with a fellow worker or, on occasions. disputes with your superiors.

A workplace with no conflict may seem utopian, but in reality, it betrays a workplace that is stale where people have little interest in their work outcomes. Conflict always represents an opportunity for growth of the organisation. Identified early and managed properly, conflict can be managed to build a better workplace for all parties.

1. Anticipate potential conflicts.

There’s nothing worse than being caught unawares by a conflict that flares up out of nowhere. You can use emotional intelligence to recognize personality clashes and underlying pressures that could spark conflict in times of high pressure or challenging scenarios. Being aware of potential flare ups before they occur can give you the time you need to prepare office conflict resolution responses to avoid situations getting out of hand.

2. Allow people time to cool down.

Nothing constructive will be accomplished when everyone’s emotions are at boiling point. Allow all parties some time to calm down and reflect on what happened. Clearly tell them you are willing to help everyone by resolving employee conflict after everyone has had enough time to cool down.

3. Put the conflict into clearly understandable words.

Use clear language to express your understanding of what happened and the reasons why it’s necessary to provide office conflict resolution. Seek agreement from all parties regarding your summary of the circumstances. It’s important not to proceed until agreement is reached about what the problem is. You can’t hope to succeed until you understand what the problem is.

4. Get to the heart of the problem.

It’s easy for personalities and previous disagreements to muddy the waters when conflict arises. If you’ve invested some time in anticipating potential conflict hot spots, you will at least have a head start in cutting away the peripheral issues and getting to the heart of the matter.

5. Allow all parties a fair hearing

Get everything out in the open by giving each party time to air their grievances in private if necessary, allowing them to feel like they’ve been given a fair hearing. If you are personally involved in the conflict, it might help to get a fresh perspective on the situation by asking a neutral colleague for help in understanding the other side’s point of view.

6. Promote acceptable working solutions.

Collaborative efforts to reach a mutually agreeable solution based on compromise will be more productive than creating a winner take all outcome. While working to negotiate an acceptable outcome, it’s worth moderating the situation to give all players an equal opportunity to share their opinions and views.

7. Spell out your expectations to all parties.

Ensuring that your expectations are clearly communicated to all parties involved will go a long way to resolving conflict at work. This type of clear concise communication not only broadcasts expectations but tells people that their opinions and roles are valued.

Following these steps will not only help to reduce the negative impacts of workplace conflict but will assist in building a more engaged team.

Conflict Resolution Jobs

People who can provide office conflict resolution in the workplace are in high demand, simply because most managers are unable to resolve conflicts successfully. Office conflict resolution professionals as well as conflict resolution trainers can earn significant incomes either troubleshooting problems within existing workplaces or training people to work in the resolution industry.

Typically conflict resolution jobs are advertised in Government sector or through large commercial organisations. Job titles include specialist customer relationship managers, case managers and various elements of human resources positions such as employee relations consultant, change manager and people and culture managers.

Conflict Resolution Training

The key to resolving and preventing conflict is promoting and encouraging good communication. The ability to provide office conflict resolution quickly and effectively will help to prevent conflicts spiraling out of control as well as improving productivity. The Skill Builder Pro conflict resolution training courses offer participants a six-step model that will help them to resolve conflicts in all situations as well as learning strategies to effectively manage anger.

Topics comprehensively covered in these training courses include

  • Building a positive energy outlook and reducing negativity.
  • The fishbone diagram (sometimes called the Ishikawa or cause and effect diagram)
  • Effective use of the agreement frame to pace and lead the person to where you want the communication to go.

The conflict resolution training will help participants gain knowledge in the following key areas.

  • An understanding of what office conflict resolution is and how to effectively resolve workplace issues.
  • The full use of the six-step conflict resolution model when resolving conflicts.
  • The ability to identify the key stages of conflict resolution.
  • The flexibility to intelligently alter the dispute resolution process for the differing types of negotiation and conflict.
  • Applying basic listening and communication skills, incorporating the use of open-ended questions, as well as the agreement frame.
  • The use of better body language when looking to work with difficult people.
  • The effective adoption of stress and anger management techniques when dealing with conflict.

What Are The Steps of Conflict Resolution?

  • Clarify exactly what the disagreement is – ask questions to clarify what needs are not being met.
  • Gain agreement from all parties about what the dispute is.
  • Work towards a common goal that is acceptable to both parties.
  • Brainstorm ways to meet the agreed common goal – getting both parties to work together to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome will help build respect between the two of them.
  • Identify potential barriers to the common goal and discuss ways to mitigate these problems. Having all parties aware of potential road blocks will help to build awareness of what can be reasonably achieved.
  • Establish agreement on how the conflict can be resolved. This should be a win- win situation that both parties are comfortable with.
  • Gain commitment from all parties to work to put the agreed resolution in to practice.

Common Conflict Resolution Scenarios

Conflict can arise in many different situations, but there are some common scenarios that you can prepare for.

Conflict caused by leadership style scenario

Joanne has been performing in the sales managers role for close to a year. On the face of it, she appears to be performing well. Her team is meeting and exceeding all sale targets and she appears to know how to keep her team motivated and performing well.

However, some of the team have consistently complained about Joanne’s management style. She is inclined to be very hands on when monitoring their sales techniques and publicly criticizes them when she sees a mistake. It has also been noticed that she does not respond well to constructive criticism herself.

This situation has now come to a head with one of the leading sales people now threatening to resign because of Joanne’s leadership style.

Strategy to deal with leadership style conflicts

It is important to get on top of this scenario quickly. Both parties in the dispute should be encouraged to resolve the differences privately if possible. However, if it appears that this will not solve the dispute satisfactorily, it is important to quickly move the dispute to mediation.

During office conflict resolution mediation it is critical that the rules of dealing with conflict are followed. Identify exactly what the problem is, put it into clear language that all parties to agree with give people a fair hearing, and seek common ground and work to gain a compromise that both parties agree to.

Conflicts caused by differing work styles

Everyone works differently. This can become problematic when two workers with differing styles are required to collaborate to meet deadlines. Consider a scenario where Jim and Anne are required to produce a report on a weekly basis. Jim tends to work sporadically but always meets deadlines, whereas Anne likes to work on a consistent basis. Anne gets frustrated with Jim’s apparent haphazard approach, while Jim doesn’t appreciate Ann’s constant “harping” to get things done.

Strategy to deal with conflicts caused by different work styles

Recognizing the problem and arranging for both parties to mediate is the first step to solving the problem. The rules of office conflict resolution should again be applied, and an agreed solution worked out. In this case there must be a recognition of the differing styles and a solution may involve some reorganization of duties. This can be achieved with goodwill.

Conflict Resolution in Nursing

While nursing practice is not the same as working in an office, many scenarios are very similar and the steps to conflict resolution in nursing are very similar to office conflict resolution.

The nursing profession is founded on building collaborative relationships with colleagues and patients alike. It is necessary to work closely with others of differing backgrounds, beliefs and cultures, potentially giving rise to conflict in several areas. The potential for conflict can be reduced by developing good communication and conflict resolution skills.

Generally, nurses have trouble dealing with workplace conflict openly and tend to avoid conflict. This leads to negative consequences as nurses are inclined to hold on to feeling created by the conflict, often causing them to act out in covert ways. To overcome this, nurses need to focus on building their conflict resolution skills as well as becoming more effective with team building skills. It is essential that nurses work to build their negotiation and communication skills suitable for a team-managed environment. As the healthcare system continues to evolve along these lines, nurses will need to have effective conflict resolution skills.

There is much evidence to indicate that styles of conflict resolution are strong indicators of levels of job satisfaction within the nursing profession. To get the most satisfaction out of this challenging profession, nurses need to equip themselves with appropriate conflict resolution skills.

Common Conflict Definitions

What Is the Definition of Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution can be defined as the use of processes to help end conflict in peaceful manner.

What Is Resolving Conflict?

Resolving conflict is the process of two or more parties finding a peaceful way to solve a dispute about a business, personal, financial or emotional matter.

What Is Role Conflict?

Role conflict occurs when there is friction between a person’s different everyday roles. This can occur when people have multiple roles with different statuses.

What Is Interpersonal Conflict?

Interpersonal conflict occurs when an individual’s efforts are frustrated by another group or individual.

The ability to resolve conflict can have major benefits upon all aspects of people’s professional and personal lives. Resolving conflict takes practice and knowledge. You can take the first step to improving your office conflict resolution skills by enrolling in an online conflict resolution course today with Skill Builder Pro.

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