A few months ago, I briefly mentioned the importance of conflict resolution kills. Today, I’d like to expand on that a bit.
When I use the term “conflict resolution,” I’m referring to interpersonal conflicts within a group. I’m not talking about some type of potentially physical confrontation with one or more people outside your group or team.
The first thing to remember is that the vast majority of interpersonal conflicts arise out of a lack of communication. An instruction is misunderstood. A comment is taken out of context. Whatever the case, feelings of anger or resentment come about when quite often, there is no need for it.
When members of your group have a disagreement, it is important to resolve it quickly and satisfactorily. Remember, the success of your group rests upon the members being able to trust and interact with each other.
It is best to let emotions cool down a bit first, to allow the members to think clearly, then address the issue. Choose your words carefully so as to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Remember, words are like bullets — once fired (spoken) they can’t be called back! Keep the conversation on point as best you can. Though with that said, you just might find out the initial cause of the conflict really has several underlying issues that need to be resolved.
Allow the group members involved in the conflict to each have their say on the matter. Encourage the use of “I” statements, such as “I feel slighted because Suzie never has to pull weeds in the garden.”
Compromise is often the best solution to a conflict. Quite often, there is no clear cut right or wrong in conflicts like this. Successful resolution rests on doing the best you can for all involved, with each person recognizing they might not get everything they want every time.