Resolve conflicts in 10 steps
If you want to see it in a positive light, arguments are a sign of a lively culture of conversation and often a reason for change. But: you have to tackle it properly!
Conflicts are often not solved or solved in an inoffensive manner and therefore lead to a long-term dispute between the participants, sometimes they can even "poison" the atmosphere within a whole department. To avoid such negative consequences, you should consider the following note.
Hot iron in time to tackle
Be sure to tackle "hot irons" or sensitive issues early on and do not bother with problems. For unresolved, smoldering conflicts prevent constructive cooperation between those affected, burden the efficiency of the department and unnecessarily divert attention from the important tasks. In addition, conflicts tend to increase in severity and severity over time.
If you are involved in a conflict, then the following procedure is recommended. Naturally, you can also apply this if you, as an intermediary, want or have to settle a dispute between colleagues or employees.
Step 1: Are there any solutions?
Before you even resolve a conflict, you should ask yourself: "Am I ready to end this dispute and possibly make concessions?" If it is clear to you in advance that only the other person is guilty and your behavior is faultless , then it has none Senseto start arbitration - you must have a certain willingness to compromise / change.
When it comes to a conflict in which you are not involved, but act as a third party (neutral arbitrator), ask yourself, "Am I the right person to resolve this dispute?" Personal, hierarchical, authoritarian or other reasons can argue that you better leave mediation to someone else.
Step 2: Analyze the history
First, consider how there could be any dispute at all. Try to remember what happened in the past. As a neutral conciliator, you should know how the conflict has come about who is involved and what has happened.
However, do not ask (yet) those directly affected, but only the environment. Do not interprete the information received, but keep in mind that the information may be deliberately or unconsciously wrong - so do not take everything at face value.
Step 3: Contact your "counterparty"
Go to the people who are involved in the conflict and tell them that you want or need to solve the problem (the order of the superior). Ask those concerned what you are expecting from a conflict discussion and, if so, what fears they have.
Become aware: Conflicts arise daily in our work and in coexistence with others. What matters is how we treat them and how we solve them. Best step by step!
Step 4: Terminate the conflict conversation
Make an appointment with your "counterparty" or the person concerned. Dates are very suitable in the late afternoon, because then you have no pressure "back out" and because those affected can then go home immediately.
Choose a neutral place for the conflict discussion, ie not your office or that of the "counterparty" or one of the affected parties. Make sure you are undisturbed, have no listeners, and that there are no superiors present.
Step 5: Open the conflict conversation
Start the conversation by first introducing the procedure. After you have greeted your "counterparty" or the parties concerned, explain the further procedure, which should consist of the following points (they correspond to the next steps 6 to 10):
- Explaining conversation objectives and rules;
- Presenting the views of those affected;
- Working out similarities and differences;
- Development of solutions;
- Decision for a solution.
Once each stakeholder has presented his or her position, you should now work out the positions. First, try to get the people concerned to provide answers, then resolve the conflict together.
Step 6: Explain the call destination and the rules
Talk to your "opponent" or the person concerned about the goal of the conversation and go through the rules point by point: Say that it is not about clarifying the question of guilt or right to speak, but that the goal is to solve the problem together.
Say that you do not appear as an opponent, but as an equal participant. If you act as a neutral conciliator: Say what your tasks are:
How is the conversation going?
- They will work out different perspectives and points of view.
- They will try to persuade those affected to understand the standpoints, needs and motives of the other side.
- They will help develop solutions.
- In all this, you will be strictly neutral and treat all information confidentially.
Name the call rules
- Only factual criticism is raised.
- There must be no accusations.
- The interlocutors let each other out.
At the end of the conversation, make sure all attendees are ready to work on conflict resolution. If this is not the case, then you can end the conversation immediately.
Step 7: Let those affected represent your point of view
Now the actual conflict resolution begins. Let your "counterparty" take the lead. Each of the conflict partners now describes the conflict one after the other, as concrete and specific as possible.
For example, if you say, "Always do this and that," then ask, "When exactly was this last?" Also, try to get participants to share their feelings. Very important in this phase: All other participants are silent, there are no allegations, no discussions, no interruption and no immediate search for solutions.
Step 8: Develop similarities and differences
Ask, "What do we agree on?" If the conflicting parties are silent, you can see where you've found common ground. This is very important because the participants see that they are not completely apart. Then turn to the differences. Ask: "What are we in disagreement? What are the real sticking points? "Record the results in writing, because these are the basis for the next step.
Step 9: Develop solutions
At this stage of conflict resolution, work through each difference in turn. Decisive for the success is that the individual points are treated separately and not mixed together. Always follow the same pattern:
- What are the solutions to the conflict partners to resolve this disagreement?
- Which of the solutions are feasible?
- Which of these solutions will be accepted by you / your "counterparty" / conflict partners?
Pay attention to alternatives and compromises
Be sure to come up with more than one solution to help you make a real choice and make a compromise if necessary. Try to bring movement into positions by, for example, calling pros and cons to individual alternatives or brainstorming.
The important thing is: Allow all suggestions - after all, ideas that seem absurd at first can be the key to success. Pay particular attention to casually expressed offers to the other side, because they are often the determining factor for a friendly settlement. Ideally, there is a list of solution alternatives at the end of this phase.
Step 10: Choose a solution
The final point is that you and your "opponent" or the conflicting parties agree on a solution. To make sure that the solution is permanent, you also need to set criteria with those affected to help them measure whether the agreement is being met and complied with.
Before you say goodbye to your "opponent" / the participants in the conversation, you should once again repeat all the results (solutions and criteria) and make sure that the conflict partners understand that everyone has understood the same. Finally, ask the question: "Can you (again) work constructively with me / with each other after this interview?"
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