5 Key Strategies for Handling Conflict

Few enjoy being tasked with handling conflict and often overlook the opportunity for growth. Conflict is typically seen as something to avoid at all costs. This is because people seldom acknowledge that conflict can actually be useful if it’s handled successfully.  Conflict can be a driving force for critical change.

Hands cradling abstract elements of fire and water on a mystical background.

Virtually every significant advance of humanity has been the result of conflict.  The more aggressive the conflict, the more dynamic the potential advancements.  Even if there is no tangible foe, humanity needs to be under pressure; we need to have a deadline. In the world of business, a healthy amount of conflict inspires us to meet our goals.  If the threat of failure in the workplace is never apparent, we tend to achieve much less.  Here are some strategies you can use:

Five Key Strategies for Handling Conflict: 

  1. Actively listen rather than simply react to what is being said. It is helpful to rephrase what the other person says to show an understanding of their point of view. This creates an atmosphere for constructive feedback and minimizes interruptions. Both parties need to feel heard before conflict can be resolved.
  2. Use “I” statements to describe the events to avoid using accusatory language. Doing this creates a much clearer picture rather than an explanation of what someone did or did not do. While the speech may seem stilted, it will clarify your point of view in a straightforward manner to avoid overly critical remarks. For example, rather than say “You forgot to hand me the invoice numbers yesterday and now I’m behind”, use “I” statements: “I noticed I did not receive the invoice numbers yesterday, and I’m not able to complete my work without them”.
  3. Separate ego and vanity from authority and responsibility; people utilize tactical positions to protect their status. Focus on common interests and avoid acknowledging individual positions.  You are creating consensus and removing tension.
  4. An objective viewpoint is necessary for a lasting resolution. Using a mediator is helpful. Create options where everybody benefits.  Look for the win-win in every situation.
  5. If events that transpired remain unclear, ask each party “What would I have seen if I were in the room?” This puts some mental distance between those involved in the conflict and the event.  In trying to describe it to you from an objective standpoint, they could realize what was really driving the conflict.

These key strategies will promote teamwork in the face of disagreement. Raising self-awareness, finding objectivity and communicating with open-mindedness are important strategies to adopt. Using these communication skills can build confidence and strengthen relationships so that employees can confidently and respectfully express their opinions without being blamed or ridiculed.  Bring your team together and ultimately advance your company by handling conflict with these key strategies.

Want to learn more about handling conflict?  KnowledgeCity can help you become an expert communicator. Our training will provide you with the skillset to work through conflict with the knowledge of different communication styles in the workplace. Learn to identify communication barriers and successfully create solutions for the betterment of your team.

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