Conflict is a fact of life. It can occur in any location at any time. People may not mean to be sources of conflict, but sometimes they just occur. As a business owner, you will know how disruptive conflict between employees and conflict with other parties can be. It can mean that there is a great level of anger, frustration, and pain. It will mean that the workflow gets disrupted, and things are simply not getting done correctly or in a timely manner. You need to find ways to resolve issues quickly and effectively and mitigate and long-term problems. Conflict resolution is a vital aspect of any manager’s arsenal. It enables a manager to discover who the good and bad party is and move forward with a workable plan.
Do not Let Conflict Fester
The last thing you should do is allow any conflict, no matter how large or small, to fester. If you have noticed something or someone else has brought a conflict to your attention, you need to deal with it. Conflict can not only distract the two parties involved, but it can have a negative impact on everyone around them. It may not be the best job in the world, but spelling this issue is the sight of a good manage4r and leader. You want respect, deal with issues like this. The same can be said for issues that affect your business from outside sources. Do not allow activity you see as illegal or damaging to continue, write cease and desist letters, or speak directly to the person causing the problem.
What is the Source of the Conflict?
If you want to resolve the conflict in a mutually agreeable way, you have to understand the route source of the conflict. If you can get to the bottom of it you will have a deeper insight into how the conflict arose in the first place. Moreover, by identifying the source, and both parties are in agreement about the source, then you are already gotten them to agree on something. From there, you can go on to discuss the conflict from both points of view. Speak to each person individually and ensure you have got all the necessary information from the employees, ask a lot of questions, and almost drag it out. The more information you can garner, the more confident you can be that you fully understand the problem and all options on the matter.
Imagine You Were Them
Once you have all the facts, sit back and imagine you were these people. See the argument for both points of view and do not take sides, unless one person is clearly in the wrong. That may mean they need a disciplinary. Anyway, put yourself in both their shoes and work out how best to approach this matter with the other party. By fully understanding and appreciating the problem, you will come to a better resolution rather than just telling them both to put this aside and move on. That has resolved nothing.
Discuss the Matter is a Private and Safe Environment
You need to find an appropriate location for each party to sit down and discuss the issue at hand. It needs to be private, and safe, and out of ear’s reach from anyone else who may be interested to hear what is going on. An interview room, a conference room, or a back-office are all options. Remember you cannot be sure how long this will take, so book the room for at least an hour.
Be Engaged, Listen, and Let both Parties Talk
You are the mitigator of this, so you cannot let one party take over. You need to ensure things remain relaxed and that you hear them out fairly. You can start, perhaps repeat why they are there, that they are in conflict about such and such a situation, and let them both agree that this is the issue. From there, it may be prudent to set ground rules and then give both of them the same length of time to voice their opinion on the matter. Do not allow the other party to interrupt. Ensure you are positive and assertive throughout this meeting and let them know that you are listening. Make notice if necessary as you are looking for things that can be agreed upon, and picking up on points they both say may help them come to a mutual understanding.
If you cannot resolve the issue there, you need to tell them that you have everything you need, read back the main points and let them know that you need some time to investigate the situation. You may need to ask more questions and have another conversion with both of the parties individually. Find out how people are feeling, as thoughts and emotions can go a long way to understanding a conflict better. You may feel that someone is holding out on you. You need to discover as much as you can, so try and find out what exactly this is.
A Common Goal
How can you tie the separate threads into a common and agreeable goal? This needs to stop the conflict as well as prevent it from occurring again in the future. Sit back down with both parties, and this time, it is you that does the most of the talking. Explain you understand both sides and that you have sympathy, tell them this conflict cannot go on, and tell them what you have already come up with as a way of resolving the issue. If this does not satisfy both parties, use your resolution as a foundation, brainstorm more ideas and add in any compromises that both parties are willing to put in place. If one part is not willing to compromise, this may indicate a further problem with that employee that may need to be addressed now or at a later date. They both need to be aware that without compromise on both sides there is no resolution.
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