As a consultant who specializes in Conflict Resolution, I want every client to have what they need for a Win-Win outcome.
The thought of working through a conflict face to face is terrifying for most [I get it!].
But having strategies up your sleeve to defuse and resolve conflict can be a true asset for the growth and success of your business— not to mention the satisfaction and productivity of everyone involved.
Here are 6 of my go-to ways to make a Win-Win Conflict Resolution more possible (and less painful):
- Say Thank You: It’s one of the “Magic Words” for a reason! Thanking another person for being willing to work with you puts everyone more at ease. Now they know you’re there to listen and come to a solution that works— for both of you.For Example: Thank you for meeting with me today to talk about utilizing Michelle for administrative work in the afternoon.
Thank you for taking the time to further discuss the challenge we are facing.
- State Your Understanding: It’s vital to let the other person know that you either understand—or are attempting to understand—their challenge, so you can partner with them in solving the problem. Here are some of the most effective ways to do this (with examples)
- Empathize: Try to get to the heart of the matter, but be sensitive to parties involved. (i.e. From my understanding, Christi will be out on maternity leave and leaving the phones open will be detrimental to business.)
- Confirm: Is this correct? [Note: If your understanding is correct, you’ve laid a good foundation to easily resolve the conflict. If it’s incorrect, ask them to clarify rather than rephrasing over and over til you get it right.]
- Ask questions: This is how you can gain insights about their interests, needs, and concerns. This will make collaboration—and a Win-Win Resolution—far more possible. (i.e.What are the hours that someone is needed?, How will this help you and your team?, What might happen if Michelle can’t help?)
- Address Your Concerns: Once you’re clear on the other person’s concerns, make sure you express your own. This is the only way true collaboration–and a mutually beneficial solution–is attainable.For Example: Michelle is working on several projects right now, and she already leaves at 4:00 every Thursday and Friday. She may fall behind on certain projects.
- State the Collaborative Opportunity: Start the brainstorming process by suggesting a solution as a “What If” question. Doing so puts concrete solutions on the table, while still giving others the chance to chime in.For Example: What if Michelle could help on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, and one hour on Thursday and Friday?
- Ask For Feedback: After suggesting the Collaborative Opportunity [“What if we….?]. It’s time to, ask for feedback to keep them involved in the process. It’s a great way to remind them you have their interests in mind, too.For Example: How would that help you?
- Gain Agreement and Establish Next Steps: To wrap things up, agree on an option that has some positive benefits for both of you. Then list–and delegate–the necessary steps to keep the ball rolling. [Don’t forget to include a timeline to help with accountability, and periodic check-ins.]For Example: Great! I’d be ok with that. I’d like to discuss with Michelle first, but I believe we can make this happen. As long as she’s on board, I can have Michelle help starting next Thursday.
When you resolve a conflict, it’s not just better for you and the other person— it’s better for your team, and your business as a whole.
Starting off on a positive note, and staying proactive and collaborative throughout the process is sure to set you up for a Win-Win Conflict Resolution.