6 Steps to Managing Conflict

6 Steps to Managing Conflict

Disagreements are unavoidable in the workplace and can often lead to discomfort and pain. Managers are responsible for addressing these issues and decreasing the possibility of the problems escalating. Conflict must be addressed safely and efficiently to avoid a loss in productivity, morale, or even employees. If you’re looking for an efficient way to handle conflict, follow these six steps:

1. Listen

Listening is key to resolving any conflict. It is the first step to understanding what is wrong and making the speaker feel valued. If you listen to the speaker, then you will gain a deeper understanding of what the situation is and how to solve it.

2. Clarify

After you listen to the problem and feel like you have a good grasp on what it is, it is always best to restate it to the speaker to ensure you clearly understand what is going on. This allows you to communicate to the speaker that you were listening and understand what the problem is. It is also a good time to investigate deeper by asking follow-up questions to determine the root cause.

3. Empathize

Employees often feel alienated when a problem arises. Try to empathize and find common ground with the employee. This will allow you to strengthen your rapport and have a less heated conversation. Finding common ground allows both parties the ability to see things from both sides and gives a shared goal to strive for.

4. Discuss solutions

Once a common goal is found, start developing a plan to solve the issue. First identify possible solutions, then discuss a plan of action to take to solve the problem. This will make all parties feel valued and take ownership of the actions.

5. Evaluate

When the problem is solved, the solution always needs to be evaluated to ensure the problem was solved. If it reoccurs, the problem may manifest into a much larger issue. Evaluating the issue proves the problem is solved and is a good way to reflect on lessons learned.

6. Follow-up

Be sure to follow up with the employee after the solution is in place. This communicates that you value the employee and have completely addressed the issue. This builds a stronger bond and promotes loyalty throughout the company.