Have you ever been stuck wondering how to resolve disputes at work because office tension grew so high you weren’t sure if you could make it through the week? There are at least 13 tools for resolving conflict in the workplace that everyone should have in their back pocket for when conflict needs solving.
13 Tools for Resolving Conflict in the Workplace
Keeping up with business as usual when you or a colleague is stuck in conflict is harder than it seems. Having some basic conflict resolution skills can make things easier. Here are 13 tools for resolving conflict in the workplace that everyone needs to know.
1. Remain Calm
Slowing down emotional reactivity is a necessary skill to have in so many areas of life, not just at work. Make sure you’re not just acting on the first impulse that comes to you. Breathe through your emotions and manage any dysregulation that may arise.
2. Listen to Understand
Finding a resolution at work when things are tense can be hard because we oftentimes become defensive and only listen for what arguments we can deconstruct. Instead, listen to understand another perspective — it doesn’t mean you’ll have to agree.
3. Don’t Take Things Personally
Sure, it can feel personal, but it usually isn’t hitting as close to home as it feels. Recognize that there may be other reasons for the words or behaviors of your colleague that may have nothing to do with you.
4. Focus on What Works
It’s easy to draw your attention to what’s breaking down — what the other person is doing wrong or where things started to fall apart. Instead, focus on what does work and figure out how to build on those strengths.
5. Be Respectful
Set boundaries and speak up for yourself, but do so with respect for the other person and their ideas. Use language and a tone that conveys your values.
6. Recognize No One is All Right
There are several ways to handle conflict in the workplace but this one stands out as one of the big ones. When we’re in conflict, we assume we’re 100% right and the other person is 100% wrong. This is hardly ever the case. Recognize where you may be wrong or that there is no concrete right or wrong worth fighting over.
7. Focus on the Problem, Not the Person
What is the problem arising in this conflict? Avoid focusing on the individuals involved and what they did to cause this, rather keep your eye on what needs solving.
8. Focus on the Future, Not the Past
What’s done is done. Instead of looking for blame, look toward the next right thing that can be done.
9. Ask the Right Questions
Don’t interrogate people when in conflict or ask closed-ended questions that just give you the intel you’re looking for. Utilize that curious brain and ask to learn.
10. Be Creative
Creativity is a great tool for mediating conflict, especially at work. Keep thinking outside the box and don’t get stuck in the seriousness of it for too long.
Of the 13 tools for resolving conflict in the workplace, this one is the most universally important. Validating doesn’t mean you agree, but it means you’re listening and it takes some of the edge off the conflict’s intensity.
12. Be Confident
Avoid arrogance but also avoid sheepishness. Stand tall knowing you’re asking for what matters to you.
13. Know When to Freshen Up Your Skills
You may have a solid foundation in communication and interpersonal conflict, but it’s important to stay informed and continue learning. Know when conflict resolution consulting services may be helpful for brushing up on old and learning new skills.
Utilizing these 13 tools for resolving conflict in the workplace can set you apart from all of the rest and highlight the leadership skills that should get you that coveted promotion.
Resolving employee disputes is challenging work. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.