With any conflict, there are a few steps that everyone should follow to ensure the best outcome of the situation. By following this guide, the conflict will not escalate and will be resolved quickly and comfortably.
Entering into conflict resolution prepared is essential for the entire process. Understand what gets you angry, and remind yourself of the situation and how you handled it before. Look to go into the process in a calm, collective manner — if you haven’t been handling it in that way thus far, take a few minutes to collect yourself.
Admitting your faults is a major part of this step — don’t blame someone else for your wrongdoing. When you’ve taken a minute to collect yourself, it’s a good idea to plan out what you’re going to say.
It’s a good idea to try and resolve any conflict as soon as possible. Waiting will only allow the negativity to fester, making it much more difficult to resolve. Quickly beginning the resolution process lessens the hostility and allows for a point of reference to the behavior in question.
Find a Private, Neutral Place
Talking about a conflict in public is one of the worst things you can do. Discussing a potentially heated conflict in public makes things extremely tense. Find a quiet place where the parties involved can talk privately.
If a private room cannot be found, a manager’s office may be an acceptable alternative — this will allow for a mediator to the conversation so it does not get out of hand.
Be Aware of Body Language
This is often as important as the words being said — a lot can be communicated with the body. Be sure to keep a calm, conversational, polite tone, without sounding condescending. Relax your body. If you are tense, it will make others tense. Keep eye contact as much as you can, and make sure your facial expression shows you care.
After the conversation is complete, it’s important to come up with a few ideas to resolve the solution. The parties should openly discuss which they prefer and come to a mutual agreement on the best solution. Some managers draw up a contract, but usually a verbal agreement is sufficient.
In almost every situation, retaliation against an employee involved in a conflict is strictly prohibited and will not affect his or her employment status at the time of the grievance or in the future. This protection makes it much easier for employees to voice their opinions about negative situations in the workplace.