August 28, 2008
The top three mistakes in dealing with conflict in the workplace.
1. Ignoring the problem
Conflict is a natural and necessary aspect of professional and personal relationships. It is inevitable and, if handled properly, an important part of business and personal growth. As a manager or business owner you may think that you do not have time to deal with every little “spat” in your workplace. However, if you choose to ignore conflicts, you are choosing to ignore an opportunity to make your business better and stronger.
You know the old saying about assumptions. Don’t ever assume that you know what others are thinking and feeling. If you go into a dialogue with a resolution already in mind, you are missing the boat. The key is looking at Needs First – Solutions Later.
3. Jumping to compromise
There are two sisters in a kitchen and only one orange. Both of them want the orange. What could they do? Cut the orange in half, you say??
That’s what they did. One sister went to the juicer and started to squeeze herself a drink, which turned out too small to satisfy. She then threw out the rind. The other sister, with some difficulty, began to grate the rind of her half of the orange to flavor a cake. She then threw out the juicy pulp. They both had only half an orange when, in effect, they could have had the whole orange.
This simple story illustrates the problem with compromise. The goal of resolving a conflict is NOT to compromise. Compromise is a lose-lose scenario. You are looking for a win-win! The key to finding the win-win is in communication. Get the parties together and have them each explain their needs, everyone might be surprised at what they learn.
Be aware, there is no one quick fix to every conflict. The key is to get everyone talking, openly, honestly, and without fear of retribution. As the manager, it is not up to you to resolve the issue, it is up to you to facilitate the dialogue so that the parties involved reach a solution together.
For more information on conflict resolution check out a free, full-length, preview of our Dialogues series.