What steps do you take to resolve conflicts among employees? Do you find the process effective? Do your employees have a plan to resolve conflict in their teams? Here is a simple 8-step conflict resolution process that you and your employees can use to resolve any type of workplace conflict.
Step #1: Call a meeting with all the individuals involved in the conflict. Make sure you include everybody involved. If you leave anyone out, the conflict cannot be effectively and permanently resolved.
Step #2: Establish discussion rules. For example, “The goal is to find a mutually acceptable solution.” Or, “It’s OK to express thoughts and feelings openly as long as you are respectful of one another.”
Step #3: Define the problem clearly in terms of needs. Each party to the conflict must have a full opportunity to define needs in terms the others can understand. This takes time and patience. The key to resolving conflict often lies in people recognizing what they actually need, opposed to what they would merely like.
Step #4: Develop possible solutions that will meet the needs of both—or all—parties involved in the conflict. You may have to get the ball rolling by making suggestions of your own. But once employees are talking, let them offer their ideas. Show your openness to employees’ suggestions by not evaluating ideas immediately.
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Step #5: Select a mutually beneficial solution from among those suggested. Remember, the best solution—a lasting solution—is one that meets the needs of each party as far as possible. Try not to impose a solution, but rather, guide the employees involved to make the best choice themselves.
Step #6: Develop an action plan. Determine who will do what, by when, and how to implement the resolution of the conflict. This is a vital step. Without it, conflict could easily flare up again.
Step #7: Implement the plan and monitor it in action. Don’t just walk away thinking the plan will work. Check to make sure it does.
Step #8: Evaluate the conflict resolution process in general and the resolution of this conflict specifically. Did the process yield an effective, positive result? Were the employees involved satisfied with the resolution? Will your efforts help to eliminate or at least minimize this type of conflict in the future?
Tomorrow, we’ll look at communication and conflict resolution skills specifically for employees working in teams. We’ll also introduce you to a new webinar on conflict resolution you won’t want to miss.
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