Becoming an Expert at Managing Conflict A business that is full of conflict can’t be successful. People don’t trust each other or work well when there is underlying animosity. Being able to identify and resolve conflicts effectively will make the difference in making your business successful or not. Here is a set process that will ensure that you are addressing each conflict in the best way possible. The first thing you need to do is set up the scene before negotiations start. There needs to be a sense of mutual respect and nice behavior for people to be able to open up to new ideas. You need to make sure the discussion is focused on the actual problem and isn’t focused on the individuals as people. Each person needs to feel like they are being listened to. You should take everything people say with thoughtful consideration and not just shut down ideas. You can understand people better and show that you are listening when you rephrase what people are saying. The next step is to gather information. 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 shouldn’t try to resolve too many issues at once. Be concise and simple. You need to show that you understand how the situation is affecting the parties involved. Starting sentences with “you” can seem accusatory. Instead, try starting sentences with “I” to show that you are thinking about your actions instead of someone else’s. Clarify everyone’s feelings instead of assuming what they are.
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Next you need to make sure everyone is on the same page in regards to what the problem is. If the problem isn’t identified, then a solution is never going to be met. Identifying the problem can help people to see that we are all working towards the same goal. You can help everyone feel like part of the solution if you have a brainstorming session. The beginning should just be including everyone in gathering as many ideas as possible. Don’t throw any ideas out during this stage. Don’t stop to evaluate any of them, just keep adding more. Stopping too long on one will kill the creativity of thinking of new ideas. Someone should edit the ideas after someone makes the list of ideas. You should gather as much input as you can get. The real solution may be the product of a silly idea, so be open. Once everyone has stated their position and understands everyone else, it is time to negotiate. Making sure everyone feels safe will go a long way to reaching a solution.