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Management Training: Tips for Conflict Resolution

11 February 2016
conflict resolution

We all know that conflict occurs in all areas of life, when people spend a lot of time with each other, including business environments. Each individual has their own tasks, roles, objectives and priorities, not to mention different personality traits which can often clash or not work as well together as we would like, causing conflict.

This can be one of the most challenging aspects to the role of a manager, but it is important to ensure that conflict resolution is delivered professionally, swiftly and effectively, minimising any negative impact on the relationships involved. 

Why does conflict occur?

We all have our own objectives, goals, values and priorities that we consider to be important. These however, may not be the same as our colleagues, and can cause conflict. 

Popular reasons for conflict within the workplace include

  • Differences in personalities
  • Competitive nature
  • Poor communication
  • A difference in values
  • Performance issues

There are a few approaches to Conflict Resolution, but one that works particularly well is the IBR (Interest-Based Relational) Approach. 

There are 6 steps:

1. Good Relationships should be the first priority

Unless there is respect it will make it harder to resolve conflicts. All people involved should address the issue with due respect and remain courteous with the intention of discussing the issues constructively. There is nothing to be gained by being over-emotional, angry or rude.

2. People and Problems should be kept separate

It is easy to attribute problems from stemming from a certain person, but this is not helpful. It is important to keep the problem separate from individuals, taking a pragmatic approach and removing emotion.

3. Attention should be given to the interests presented

Everyone has a different take on a situation, so it is important to listen to each person involved and make an informed judgement on what has happened, why it has happened and how can it be resolved.

4. Listen first, talk second

It's the same with all conflict, whether it is your small children at odds over what TV programme they want to watch and why it is their turn over the other, or within a business context, whatever the issue is the rules remain the same; everyone wants to have their point listened to. It’s obviously a respectful thing to do to listen to all sides, but it also may make the situation clearer, and assist with the resolution. It can also prevent anything being said in haste that may be detrimental and have consequences.

5. Outline the “facts”

This is quite an obvious point, but important nonetheless. How can you make an assessment on the situation and conflict if you don’t have all of the facts? With the aim in conflict resolution to always preserve relationships, this is key to have knowledge of all of the factors in the situation in order to give a fair evaluation and opinion leading to a favourable outcome.

6. Explore options together

Collaborating together to reach a conclusion and resolution to an issue or conflict brings individuals together, in a united goal in trying to reach common ground. 

Taking this simple, yet effective approach to Conflict resolution can prove useful when dealing in such situations. As a manager, you of course want to preserve relationships in order to have the most effective team within your business. 

For more tips, or to learn more about our conflict resolution training, please call us on 01295 675506 for a free consultation.

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