We know that conflict causes high levels of emotion – anger, frustration, fear. And in these emotional states we waste time, we don’t do our best work.
In a study on workplace conflict, commissioned by the publisher of the Myers-Brigg Assessment, the findings included:
- Managers spend over 30% of their time dealing with conflict
- 25% of employees said that avoiding conflict led to sickness or absence from work
- 30% said that conflict resulted in a person leaving the company, either through being sacked or through quitting
- The primary cause of workplace conflict was related to personality conflicts, followed by stress and workload
In short, conflict costs your business a lot of time, a lot of emotion and a lot of money. It is critical, therefore, that you, your managers and team leaders have the skills and confidence to deal appropriately and successfully with conflict issues. We coach clients to use a 6-step conflict resolution process.
The resolution process is centred around the following 5 principles:
1. Address the issue/conflict promptly
Most issues do not ‘just go away by themselves‘. Consciously separate the facts and the feelings and start with the facts. Contrary to older methodologies (that didn’t work, particularly in the long-term) feelings do need to be addressed for conflict to be genuinely resolved.
2. Asking and Listening are the skills you need (not advising and mediating)
Don’t assume, do ask; ask open questions. Listen without judgment; don’t interrupt; check that you have understood them correctly.
3. Use ‘I’ Statements
Start with ‘I’ statements or ‘My perception is…’. Avoid ‘you’ statements. They sound accusatory and are likely to cause defensive or aggressive responses.
4. You can’t solve it for them!
The people involved in the conflict must be the people who decide the solution. This maximises the chances of them committing to the solution.
5. Maintain dignity and respect
Keep the focus on the issues and not the personalities.
6. Honour diversity
Different viewpoints encourage creativity to search for a solution. If we ‘always agree’ it usually means one person is dominating and the other is complying.
If you want to learn more about our GREENLINE program that helps your people deal with conflict and have honest conversations that genuinely drive performance in your organisation, CLICK HERE, call 1300 085 248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.