Managing conflict at work is a skill. It will either be an advantage to you or fill some of you days with angst. It maybe daunting but delaying or avoiding a difficult conversation won’t help and when poorly executed can damage your reputation, undermine your position or at its most extreme, lead to resignation. Don’t stick your head in the sand, read on for strategies designed to bring the conversation back into your comfort zone.
Where to begin.
Reframing your thoughts.
First of all, be inquisitive and come from a place of curiosity. Secondly, be present. Engage and let go of predetermined views and prejudice. Dont worry about being liked. Take note of what’s being said, not what’s going on in your head. Preparing what to say, although it might feel useful rarely helps. Planned conversations belong in movies thus take the pressure off with less talking and more active listening.
Managing Conflict at work
Example. it’s come to your attention that one of the team is going to miss a deadline. In your new state of neutral and on a quest to understand, approach the person beginning with “I see the project is behind schedule” and in your words “what are the challenges you’re facing?” Pause. Continue questioning as needed and at all times listening and observing. Your expression will set the correct tone throughout the conversation and help encourage the person to talk.
Success will require your full attention in order to get a clear understanding of the situation. Summarise and repeat back to validate your understanding and respond accordingly. Never leave the conversation unfinished or let frustration get in the way of moving conflict forward. Finish by leading the person to put forward a satisfactory solution.
The important steps are,
- don’t delay or avoid the conversation. Delay only when either party needs time to cool down first.
- expect a positive outcome.
- neutral stance, no forgone solutions and active listening.
- allow enough time to finish the conversation with a satisfactory solution.
Finally, don’t ignore tough conversations. After all it’s your job to engage and because this is an opportunity for improvement it benefits everyone. Focusing on the gains will help you reframe your thoughts and most importantly summon the courage to managing conflict at work.