Change, arguments, and discord are inherent in our everyday lives as well as in the routine of any operating organization. Conflicts, especially, may arise due to incompatibilty of goals, emotions, behaviors, or attitudes between two or more parties. The ability to intervene and find a solution to alleviate or completely eliminate such dissention is known as one’s conflict resolution skills.
Effective conflict resolution skills are essential to a healthy workplace environment because they help in saving time, money, relationships, as well as minimizes the distraction for employees from their jobs. However, managers with weak conflict resolution skills risk placing huge burden on their staff, becoming a liability for the overall organization.
Why is conflict resolution important
Whenever emplloyees with different backgrounds, attitudes and opinions work together on any project, conflicts are inevitable. Following are some of the benefits of conflict resolution that will highlight its importance:
- Garner strong relationships. Having good conflict resolution skills help employees reduce the friction that damages their working relationships. By resolving conflicts in a more professional and respectful manner, they are enabled to collaborate better with co-workers, building stronger work relationships.
- Reduced disruptions. Employees with poor conflict resolution skills cause a tension to build in the face of any disagreemnt, which then spreads to other employees who may not have been involved originally. This results in a dropped employee morale as well as stalling of the work flow. By training employees for conflict resolution, such disruptions can be minimized and a better working environment can be created.
How to improve conflict resolution skills
Knowing that unaddressed conflicts can negatively influence the teamwork within an organization as well as its overall productivity, following measures must be taken to improve conflict resolution skills:
- Untie the person from the problem. It is mandatory that you separate the people from the underlying problem while attempting to resolve it. Focus on the issue or the process and avoid attaching a particular person or group to it.
- Provide a neutral environment to clarify the problem. While discussing the resolution of a conflict, ensure that its being done in a safe and neutral environment. If possible, act as a mediator or provide one at the scene to establish guidelines for a professional and respectful interaction as well as for determining the factors causing the discord.
- Come up with an exhaustive list of options. Brainstorm and explore all ideas for a win-win solution. Make sure that all parties are given an equal opportunity to hsare their concerns and opinions.
- Agreement on a proposed solution. Determine a formal or informal process for the agreement and acknowledgement that the proposed resolution of the problem is the best one possible.