Conflicts and differences of opinion are common as each person is different. Understanding a fellow human being can be tricky and therefore, chances of a conflict are ever present. What is important is to stop the conflict from escalating to an undesirable level and resolve them amicably through dialogue.
There are lots of ways to resolve a conflict. The one I use is a feedback-based mechanism.
Here are some of the important tenets of that mechanism:
1. Listen first - Often all it takes to resolve a conflict is to listen to the parties involved. By listening you effectively gain the trust of the warring parties and also an understanding of the context.
2. Converse candidly - The contenders in a conflict may open up to you in a candid conversation. As a mediator, it is imperative that you make them feel that it is safe to share their true feelings and issues with you. It is best to do this in a one-on-one.
3. Don't ignore, don't drag - Left unattended, old conflicts will fester and create barriers to building successful professional collaborations. As a mediator, do not ignore such conflicts and address them as soon as possible. On the other hand, it is also important to find a resolution quickly, as dragging these events has the same festering effect.
4. Avoid blame games - Most of conflicts arise from a lack of communication or miscommunication. The important thing is to find a solution and learn from the experience. The resolution will get delayed if one of the aggrieved parties starts accusing the other.
5. Stay calm - When facing a conflict yourself, the first thing is to remain calm. Though easier said than done, it is important that you do so. Most conflicts are borne out of misunderstandings and by staying calm and listening, you can quickly figure out the point of contention. You can then address it directly and resolve the conflict.
6. Keep emotions at bay - Emotions often get the better of us during a confrontation. Instead of addressing the issue at hand, we tend to attack a person. While it is natural to get emotional and defensive, there's no way to stop the other person from behaving in a similar fashion. And then, there's no resolution.
7. Look within - When you are one of the conflicting parties, it is important to introspect and understand the situation in an objective manner. Ask yourself the reason the other person reacted in a specific manner, to what you said or did. If you find that you are responsible, acknowledge it to yourself first and then take it forward from there.
Mamatha Ramesh is an HR Manager at Chimera Technologies. Utilise these techniques at your workplace to resolve workplace conflict.