Resolving Conflict at the Office
It’s not ideal, and we don’t necessarily like to talk about it, but conflict does happen in the workplace.
So, as a leader, how do you handle it? Do you sweep it under the rug, or do you deal with it head-on?
Here are some tips on how to handle disagreements and conflicts at work.
Pay Attention to Your Tone of Voice
Experts say that only 10% of an argument is about the issue, and 90% is the tone of voice.
So, it is safe to say that how we react and talk about the conflict is critical to resolving it. Whether you’re mediating the conversation or you’re in the middle of the argument, remember that your tone of voice will impact the other person more than just your words.
Don’t Ignore the Issue
According to experts, ignoring a problem is not the best way to handle the situation as it will only build more tension.
This can severely impact the productivity and energy of the group. In fact, we should embrace the difference of opinions in hopes that we might learn something new and expand our business.
Author and business leader Margaret Heffernan said, “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Keep this in mind, and your job will be much easier. Think of it as a way to expand your business and maybe gain some new ideas on how to do things.
There are Benefits with Conflict
According to Amy Gallo, contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, benefits of a conflict at work include: “positive, creative friction that leads to better work outcomes; opportunities to learn and grow; higher job satisfaction; a more inclusive work environment, and even improved relationships.”
Thinking of these positive benefits of conflict while mediating or conversing with others should help you appreciate the different views rather than dreading the confrontation.
Do Your Homework
Before meeting with those involved, do your homework.
Listen carefully to what is being said before asking questions. If people feel heard, they will respect your input more. It also keeps emotions calm. Be sure to stay in control of your emotions so you can stay objective.
Ask For Clarification
Before reaching any conclusions in your mind, be sure to ask for clarification on the points that were made by each side.
Take notes so you can be specific in your questions. Also, try to use the question “how” rather than “why” someone feels the way they do. And when you do talk, try not to use “but” or “however” because that will make the others feel like they aren’t as valued and that their opinions don’t count.
Mind the Facts
Focus on the facts at hand, rather than getting distracted by extra information, observations, or feelings.
And watch your body language, as that will impact the conversation more than you might think. Uncross your arms, and keep good eye contact in a non-threatening way.
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