How to resolve conflict: Top techniques for conflict resolution
Imagine a world where everybody agrees, all the time. No need to ask how to resolve conflict. It’s a place where every idea is a good one, every change comes easily, and every organisation is filled with happy people who whistle around the office, pirouetting by the photocopier. It’s also a world where, if you look out of the window, you’ll see pigs flying and unicorns dancing on rainbows! Unfortunately, conflict is a part of life. Whatever kind of organisation you are involved in, you can be sure that there will be disagreements on a regular basis. So what can you do to mitigate the impact of conflict within your organisation? I am often asked my thoughts on how to resolve conflict, so here are my top tips.
How to resolve conflict by doing very little
In a busy working environment, conflict is often such a difficult issue because resolving it effectively takes time. If you are directly involved in the conflict with another individual, or if you see conflict brewing in your team, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. As counter-intuitive as it may be, the first step to take in a conflict situation is to step back, stop speaking, and allow things to fall silent. You can also introduce pauses into your conversation, slowing the pace and stopping the development of adrenalin-fuelled arguments. Stepping back gives you the chance to get a fresher perspective.
Once individuals are communicating in a careful, considered way, it is possible to begin working towards resolution. However, it is important to understand what true conflict resolution really is. One of the things that I encounter most as a visitor to organisations is the illusion of resolution, leaving underlying conflict to fester. Often, this leads to a bigger conflict further down the line. Whenever a conflict occurs, two individuals or groups of people have a fundamentally different goal that they wish to achieve. Finding an agreeable solution often means understanding each of these disparate goals, and working towards a solution that is somewhere in the middle.
Finally, conflict resolution is only possible when both parties let one of their goals go – being right. The desire to have the best answer to a problem, the best approach to a situation, or the best idea on the table is built into human nature. When a conflict begins to arise, it is often because two individuals can’t both be right. To help conflicting parties steer themselves back on track, ask that your team focuses on the same goal – not being right on a personal level, but making decisions that are right for your business. This takes courage.
How to resolve conflict so that everybody is happy
When conflict takes place in a business, the impact on morale and motivation is significant. It is no surprise, then, that many team leaders see conflict as something to be eliminated at any cost, before it happens. Unfortunately, that takes us back to a place where pigs soar past the windows. The reality is that conflict is a part of business – just as it is a part of life – and some degree of conflict is a good thing for the on going development and growth of an organisation.
At Building a Team Team Events we care deeply that you have the opportunity to create the most extraordinary team. Discover more about how we do it here. Some of our other blogs may be of interest so do go and take a look at this one in particular on Leadership. Remember to prepare for the inevitable by learning how to resolve conflict and applying these techniques within your team. Watch Team Communication on our Youtube Channel.