5 Effective Steps for Resolving Conflict in Your Small Business

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5 Steps for Resolving Conflicts at Work

Most people say they hate conflict, yet avoiding it causes more problems. In today’s culturally diverse, multigenerational workforce it’s bound to happen. Conflicts can be frequent, often petty, and very costly between people speaking different languages, from different generations, and having different religious beliefs and cultural norms.  Tempers flare and regrettable things are said.

You don’t have to like conflict but you can learn to manage/harness it and not try to escape from it.

The only place there is no visible conflict is in a dictatorship and that’s not a good alternative.

Tips For Resolving Conflicts at Work

How to resolve:

1. Understand that big conflicts are made up of little conflicts. Its like a circuit board. Looking at the whole is complicated, but piece by piece it’s easy to connect it all.
2. Then remove emotions from the situation. Emotions are to conflict like air is to a fire — it causes it to grow out of control. Don’t let drama or emotional responses inflame the situation. Instead …
3. Choose to be generous. Whomever or whatever started the conflict, give the benefit of the doubt that best intentions were involved. Instead of judging or blaming, give liberal feedback as to where someone or something could have taken a different course of action.
4. Share context with parties involved. People are more reasonable in their reaction if they are given a more complete picture or fuller context, describing the conditions that led to the situation and why the activity (or lack of activity) caused conflict. For example, your team misses one month of their revenue target, the boss goes crazy about it at a team meeting which cases conflict where people feel compelled to defend their activity. The context might be that every other division missed their revenue target also and now people have to be let go.  Context is a great leveler, and it always matters.
5. Go to the facts; honesty prevails. Own up to mistakes. Sit in graceful silence, don’t express every thought that crosses your mind. Calmly talk about the extent of the damage and choose a solutions that matches the severity of the situation.
Then be willing to wipe the slate clean (at least once) if the situation is resolved.
Get used to the fact you work in a passionate environment. And be willing to say, “I understand,” which keeps you from saying, “I agree” or “I disagree” before you’re sure where you stand.
Move on.

Conflict Photo via Shutterstock

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Personal Branding Blog The Personal Branding Blog is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals build a powerful brand to remain competitive in the job market.

2 Reactions
  1. This may be tough for business owners are imperfect. But it can be done with practice and by simply taking these tips into account.

  2. These tips are wonderful for solving the conflicts in the organization. I loved your way of lucid writing.