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Becoming an Expert at Managing Conflict

There is no way for a business full of conflict to be successful. Animosity will mean an atmosphere of distrust and a decrease in productivity. Resolving conflicts quickly can be the difference between failure and success for your business. Here is a set process that will ensure that you are addressing each conflict in the best way possible. First you need to set the scene for the negotiations to happen. There needs to be a sense of mutual respect and nice behavior for people to be able to open up to new ideas. Discussions should be steered away from individuals and redirected towards the problem. Each person needs to feel like they are being listened to. Shutting down someone’s idea without first considering it will make them feel like they don’t have an ally and shut down. You need to understand people and they need to feel heard, and the best way to do both is by rephrasing what you are hearing.

You also need to gather as much information as possible. The position a person is taking is often on the surface of some much deeper desire or need. You won’t be able to do this if you aren’t being objective and putting yourself in their shoes. You will run into problems if you try to solve too many issues at once. Keep the issue concise. You need to show that you understand how the situation is affecting the parties involved. People will get defensive if they are met with sentences starting with “you” too often. Instead, try starting sentences with “I” to show that you are thinking about your actions instead of someone else’s. Make sure everyone gets a chance to clarify their own feelings.
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Different people may see the problem differently, so it needs to be clearly identified. If the problem isn’t identified, then a solution is never going to be met. It is a very important step in conflict resolution to show that everyone knows what the problem is and everyone is essentially working towards the same end goal.

Getting everyone to feel like a part of the solution by having a brainstorming session may be a good idea. At the beginning of the session, you need to gather all the ideas you can and make sure everyone feels included. This means that you aren’t going to get rid of any ideas, just keep adding more. You want to start with as many ideas as you can, so just keep blurting them out instead of stopping to evaluate them. Stopping to think about one specific idea is going to stop people from thinking of new ideas. Someone should make the list of ideas and then someone else should edit them. You should gather as much input as you can get. Even if an idea is silly, it may spark the inspiration that triggers the real solution.

Once everyone has stated their position and understands everyone else, it is time to negotiate. Ideas have been talked about and the problem is outlined, so a solution needs to be met.