• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 38. Resolving Conflict in Your O... > RESOLVING CONFLICT (SIX EASY STEPS)


Anticipating conflict (and knowing its causes, such as those you just listed) is one of the best ways to head off a situation before it erupts. When a conflict exists, either for you, or among other people in your organization, try using the following steps to maintain a positive environment.

  1. Schedule a meeting with the other party. Decide on a time and place to sit down and discuss differences. That way you have each made a gesture toward resolution. Example: Debra, your department bookkeeper, resists your requests for statistics you need to include in regular reports. Think about the ideal time and place to meet with her, and say, “We need to talk about our working relationship and how it can be improved.”

  2. Evaluate the cause. First acknowledge that there is a conflict. (Not admitting there’s a problem makes it worse.) Talk nonjudgmentally about the reasons for your differences.

  3. Use “I” messages. Say “I thought you wanted this,” or “I heard you say that.” In this way, you avoid destructive accusations. Here is a pattern for an “I” message: I (feel, react)_________when you (act, do)_________________which causes (consequences) ______________________.

  4. Encourage the other person to express his or her feelings. Ask questions that draw out what the other person is thinking. Use phrases like “I would like your reaction to what happened,” or “I would like to hear your reasons.” In our example, the bookkeeper might say that she had no idea of the importance of the reports you worked on, or who needed the figures. She might also point out that you are often late giving her the information she needs for the report. The idea is to let the other party know that you are truly listening carefully to his or her opinions.

  5. Structure your desired outcome. Negotiate. Be sure that you each contribute to the “solution” and feel satisfied that it is at least worth trying. (Not every problem is going to be solved overnight, but progress can usually be made, even on those that are most difficult.) Some people like to write down agreements; but for most office situations, a handshake symbolizes mutual respect and agreement to work toward a solution.

  6. Evaluate. It’s a good idea to set a definite time in the future (a week, a month, etc.) to evaluate the solution. When you successfully negotiate a conflict using the above guidelines, you will be amazed at how powerful you feel. Your power is not to push other people around, but to improve communications with those who may have different views.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint