All workplaces experience conflict to varying degrees of intensity. Some interpersonal conflicts in the workplace can be managed in a way that supports team building and individual growth while other conflicts grow to the point of needing mediation or legal proceedings to address the issues at hand. Utilizing informal conflict resolution strategies can help keep conflict from having public or even legal ramifications and keep the issues in-house to be effectively addressed.
Informal Conflict Resolution Strategies
When assessing how to resolve conflict between coworker(s), it won’t always be easy to identify if the dispute will be manageable in-house or if it will require some degree of escalation. Using some of these informal conflict resolution strategies can not only help you stay ahead of the disagreement and offer a collaborative path to a solution, but it will also help you recognize if a more official proceeding will be needed in the long run.
Establish Ground Rules and Expectations
One of the more common informal conflict resolution strategies is to start with some containment which includes expectations and rules. If you’re dealing with conflict resolution at work, you’ll want to manage the delicate balance of allowing all involved parties to feel autonomous and empowered to express themselves effectively while also remaining respectful of each other and the process. “I” statements are recommended for communicating feelings and needs in order to keep the conversation respectful.
Facilitate Effective Communication
If you’re responsible for having to decide how to solve conflicts at work, know that your task is not a small one. In order for a solution to be reached, everyone first needs to have a turn expressing the problem from their side. When employees feel unheard or invalidated in their experience, they will be less likely to move on toward the solution phase and will struggle to compromise or collaborate on a solution. Collaborative engagement means everyone needs to be able to express their side of things while being reminded to stay respectful of each other and the workplace.
When you begin discussing possible solutions, allow each involved party to contribute to the brainstorming. The final solution shouldn’t be something decided by management that is handed down as another rule or assignment from the boss. When conflict between employees erupts, those involved should feel some sense of ownership over the solution which will help them remain incentivized to do their part.
It may be helpful to remind everyone involved that in order for a solution to be reached, everyone will need to give up something. This also means that everyone will be able to gain something. So it may help to remind involved parties that they will have to prioritize what they’re hoping for so that a collaborative resolution to this conflict can be achieved.
If informal conflict resolution strategies are having seemingly little-to-no effect on your team, it might be time to 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.