Working with other people means that, occasionally, disagreements will arise. And, while most disagreements are resolved via dialogue, breakdowns in communication or failure to reach an agreement cause the problem to escalate. While being involved in a conflict is never ideal, you have the power to resolve the situation. Here is what you need to know about conflict management in the workplace.
Be the First to Speak Up
If you’ve become involved in a conflict with a co-worker, be the first to acknowledge the problem and propose a sit-down in order to plan a peaceful resolution. If you are nervous about confronting your hostile co-worker directly, consider inviting a mediator. This could be someone from human resources, a manager, or even another co-worker who is willing to get involved.
Set a Time and Place
Conflict resolution requires time and, whenever possible, it is best to sit down face-to-face. If you cannot meet in a single location, consider setting up a video call. Be prepared to negotiate a time and place to ensure that you and the other party can be present. You can propose the details, but be prepared to compromise. For best results, try to suggest a location that is mutually convenient and offers multiple timing options to increase your chances of success. If someone is moderating, make sure that the timing and location work for them as well.
Begin By Setting Expectations
Make sure that your coworker knows what to expect by clearly communicating that you would like to resolve the conflict as you set the meeting. If you have secured a third-party moderator for the meeting, ask them what to expect. If you have called the meeting, go over the goals and major steps.
Follow Key Conflict Resolution Steps
If you are leading the meeting, you should know the basics of successful conflict resolution. These should include:
- Giving time for everyone involved in the conflict to speak their grievances
- Acknowledging each others grievances
- Working together to create a plan that all parties can agree to and execute
- Setting up a follow-up plan to ensure that the resolution plan holds over time and that future conflicts do not arise
Follow the Plan and Communicate
This tip seems obvious, but you should make sure that you follow the plan that you and your co-worker agreed upon. If you realize that the plan that you both agreed on is not feasible, communicate with your co-worker and work together to create a new plan.
Know When to Call for Help
If you cannot come to a mutually agreeable resolution with your co-worker or feel like you cannot face the conflict without help, ask for help. This could be someone in your company or an outside professional. If you feel the need to go outside your organization, consider asking someone within the workspace, like human resources, to intervene first.
If you are dealing with conflict management in the workplace and need professional help, get in touch to learn how Pollack Peacebuilding can help.