Resolve conflict effectively by treating everybody involved with respect.
Chances are, you've had to deal with conflict at some point in your career. You might even have to cope with it regularly.
Conflict between team members can seem to be an inevitable result of different people working closely together. Often, it can lead to productive change. But at other times, it can damage teams and dramatically lower morale.
Knowing how to manage and resolve conflict successfully can increase understanding within your team, and improve people’s relationships with one another.
One conflict resolution strategy that you can use is the Interest-Based Relational Approach. Using this process respects people's individual differences, while helping them avoid becoming too fixed in their position.
You need to follow some rules when you use this approach.
First, make sure your relationships take top priority. After all, in most team-based situations, having good long-term relationships with co-workers is critically important. Always treat everybody involved in the conflict with respect.
Also, keep people and problems separate. For example, it can be tempting to brush off someone's points because you think they're just being difficult or picky, especially if your relationship with them isn't great. But they're speaking up for a reason. So focus on the issue, not the person. And, make sure you listen first and talk second.
When it comes to putting the Interest-Based Relational Approach into practice, there are five steps you need to follow.
Step one is to set the scene. Make sure people understand that it may be a mutual problem best resolved through discussion and negotiation, rather than through conflict.
Next, gather information. It's important to ask for each person's viewpoint, and reaffirm that you respect their opinion. Clarify feelings, and practice empathetic listening.
The third step is to agree on the problem. This might sound obvious, but it's important that everybody understands what needs to be resolved.
After you've agreed on the problem, you all need to brainstorm solutions. Try to make this as fair and balanced as possible – everybody should feel they've been involved in the discussion.
The last step is to negotiate a solution. At this stage, the conflict might already be resolved if both sides understand one another’s positions. If you haven't reached a solution, then use a technique like “win-win negotiation” to find one that hopefully works for everybody involved.
Conflict in the workplace can be damaging and stressful if it's not handled correctly. But learning how to manage different opinions and positions successfully can help everybody grow.
You can find out more about conflict resolution, and the Interest-Based Relational Approach, in the article that accompanies this video.