Conflict is somehow unavoidable at the workplace. All employees in an organization work as colleagues and are focused on delivering for the organization; yet, most employees do not see face to face with each other. There are enough reasons for conflict within the workplace. They could be because of differences in the perception of the organization’s goals, or they could be about the ways to achieve them. Conflict resolution is an extremely important aspect of an organization’s work, because if conflict is not managed and controlled, an organization would blow up.
Admit to conflicts
Perhaps the first steps to conflict resolution is to own up the fact of the existence of conflict. Many key people in an organization try to wish it away or push it under the mat. This approach is the least helpful one. It may at best have limited success in organizations that are a one-man show. Where there are several managers working in bigger organizations; conflicts are natural. By admitting to this fact; conflict resolution managers will have taken the first step to resolution. It is like how a doctor first diagnoses an illness before going ahead with the treatment options.
Having admitted to the existence of conflict, it is important to first find out the root cause. During this process, it is necessary for the conflict resolution manager (whoever it may be: the manager to whom the conflicting parties report, or a higher manager, or a manager from another department, or an independent person hired from outside for this specific role) to be fair and even. If the manager carries a bias, it makes resolution difficult to achieve.
Each conflict calls for a unique response. An effective, proper and full response to conflict resolution is possible only when the manager has applied problem-solving skills specific to the issue. A disinterested and objective approach is the best, because it will help the manager understand the size and nature of the problem.
Conveying matters of importance
The conflict resolution manager has to convey to the conflicting sides the importance of changing attitudes. This is often the most difficult part of the resolution process, because during most occasions of conflict, each side is equally strong in its conviction that it is right. The conflict resolution manager has to impress upon the conflicting parties the consequences of their attitude or acts on the organization. He has to then make them understand why they need to change their thinking and working for the organization.
Cool it off
The fact that a slight alteration in the mindset can contribute enormously to the organization’s good has to be driven home. More than anything else, the conflict resolution manager has to make the conflicting sides understand that whatever change he seeks from them is purely professional and seldom personal. A good step would be to take the conflicting sides for an outing, such as a dinner or a drink or a trip after the resolution of the conflict, so that their personal bonding is kept intact.
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