Resolve conflict effectively,
with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
James Manktelow: Hello, I'm James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free, career-boosting tools and resources.
Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools.
Chances are, you've had to deal with conflict at some point in your career. You might even have to cope with it on a regular basis.
Conflict between team members is an inevitable result of different people working together in an organization. Often, conflict can lead to productive change. 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 group relationships.
JM: One conflict resolution strategy is the Interest-Based Relational Approach.
This type of conflict resolution respects people's individual differences, while helping everybody avoid becoming too fixed in their position.
There are a few rules you need to follow when using this approach.
One rule is making sure your relationships take top priority. Always treat everybody else involved in the conflict with respect.
You also need to keep people and problems separate.
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 there's a reason why they're speaking up. So focus on the real issue, not the relationship.
Also, make sure you listen first and talk second.
AC: There are five steps to using the Interest-Based Relational Approach.
Step one is to Set the Scene.
Here, make sure people understand that the conflict may be a mutual problem, which may be best resolved through discussion and negotiation, rather than through raw aggression.
JM: Next, Gather Information.
Here, it's important to ask for each person's viewpoint, and reaffirm that you respect their opinion.
Clarify feelings, and practice empathetic listening.
AC: The third step is to Agree on the Problem.
This might sound like an obvious step, but it's important that everybody agrees on the problem that needs to be solved.
After you've agreed on the problem, you all need to work on brainstorming solutions.
Try to make this as fair and balanced as possible – everybody should feel that they've been involved in coming up with a solution.
JM: The last step is to Negotiate a Solution.
At this stage, the conflict might already be resolved if both sides understand fully the position of the other.
If a solution hasn't been reached, then use a technique like win-win negotiation to find a solution that hopefully works for everybody involved.
Conflict in the workplace can be damaging and stressful to your team if it's not managed correctly.
But learning how to navigate 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.