After conflict has occurred, it is vital that steps are taken to resolve any outstanding issues or concerns. Introducing this into your organisational culture will minimise the impact conflict has on productivity and relationships. This is a characteristic of successful businesses.
Remember to always choose your words carefully. The last thing you want is to cause further conflict with your colleagues. If you are upset with a colleague, when addressing this try to use wording such as "I felt like X when Y happened" instead of "You did X and that upset me". This will reduce the likelihood of your colleague becoming defensive, therefore making resolution easier. Never blame or point the finger at anyone as this will trigger a negative reaction.
Sometimes people simply need to vent their frustrations. If so, let them! And while they are doing this, try to understand (as best you can) their point of view. If you need further clarification on their standpoint, ask them. This allows you to work together towards finding the best solution.
6 main steps in resolving after a conflict:
i) Take accountability by identifying your part in the conflict, what went wrong?
"I recognise that I was at fault when I did X, which resulted in Y."
ii) Apologise in a heartfelt and sincere way, what do you regret?
"I am sorry that X occurred and I realise this was a mistake on my part."
iii) Outline what will change to avoid the same conflict in the future.
What will you stop/start doing as a result?
"From now on, I will do Z to avoid X occurring again."
iv) Make sure you let the other party/parties know that you have forgiven them.
"I forgive you for X and I want to move on from this together."
v) Honour both party's ability to resolve the conflict and move on.
"Neither of us want this to happen again, so we can agree to both do Z to make sure of this."
vi) Complement them, what do you like about working with them? What do they bring to them team? This can be done after the conversation is over to end on a positive note and to build one another up. Take time to think about this truthfully to ensure sincerity.
"I think you are a really great at A and I admire that about you."
Overall, conflict is common and nothing to be afraid of. Working through it can be difficult and uncomfortable, but the results are much greater than the short-lived awkwardness of it. If you can, pause and make sure you are in the right frame of mind. There is no use trying to resolve conflict if you do not feel ready to do so. Otherwise, you may find that you are more reactive than proactive and are more sensitive to situations.
We would also love to hear what methods you use for resolving conflicts at work – please leave a message in the comments section! Likewise, if you have tried any of the methods mentioned in any of the previous articles please let us know how it went!
Can't get enough of conflict resolution? Read these articles:
A great article by the Harvard Business Review on choosing the right words during a conflict at work: https://hbr.org/2014/06/choose-the-right-words-in-an-argument
Thrive Global give advice on how to stop an overreaction, even when you are experiencing one: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/3-ways-to-stop-an-overreaction-when-youre-in-the-middle-of-one/?
For more on conflict resolution, read this: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crucial-Conversations-Talking-Stakes-Second/dp/0071771328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541778124&sr=8-1&keywords=crucial+conversations
If debates need to happen, they should be done effectively: https://hbr.org/2019/01/how-to-debate-ideas-productively-at-work?utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social