Human Resources South Africa|Friday, November 24, 2017
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Conflict Resolution 

Make use of the following tips to resolve conflict at work:

Choose your battles.

How important is the dispute really? Does it truly affect you, and is it a chronic problem? If it’s a one-time incident or mild transgression, let it pass, says Steven Menack, a professional divorce and business mediator.

Expect conflict.

Decide that friction will occasionally emerge in the course of human relationships, Stieber says. Don’t fear it — rather, learn to spot the symptoms early and see opportunity in the resolution.

Use neutral language.

Avoid judgmental remarks or sweeping generalizations, such as, “You always turn your reports in late.” Use calm, neutral language to describe what is bothering you. For example: “I get very frustrated when I can’t access your reports because it causes us to miss our deadlines.” Be respectful and sincere, never sarcastic, Menack suggests.

Practice preventive maintenance.

Avoid retreating to the safety of withdrawal, avoidance or the simplistic view that your co-worker is a “bad person,” Stieber says. These are defense mechanisms that prevent the resolution of conflict.

Menack suggests focusing on the problem, not the person. Never attack or put the other person on the defensive, he says. Focus on actions and consequences.

Listen actively.

Never interrupt the other party, Menack urges. Really listen and try to understand what the other person is saying. Let him know you understand by restating or reframing his statement or position, so he knows you have indeed heard him.

Get leverage on yourself.

When dissent between you and a co-worker appears without resolution, it is time to get leverage. Ask to be held accountable. This brings your performance evaluation into the equation but without taking away your responsibility for resolving the conflict. This is hard to do, but remarkable change can happen when you are held to task.

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