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10 smart, effective ways to exemplify healthy conflict resolution at work

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Shreya Christina
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Resolving conflict in the workplace is essential to a healthy workplace culture. Leaving conflicts unresolved creates resentment among team members and creates a toxic environment that can distract from the work to be completed.

As a leader, your job is to help resolve any conflicts and act as a mediator between employees when needed. By properly handling conflict resolution, employees can also be influenced to better resolve future conflicts on their own.

To get you started, 10 Council for Young Entrepreneurs experts share different ways they recommend approaching conflict resolution and the example that applies to your team.

1. First determine the type of conflict

First of all, figure out what kind of conflict you’re dealing with. Is this a task-based disagreement or a work style mismatch? Is there a leadership problem or a personality conflict? Each of these conflicts should be handled differently. Since you are someone who can see the situation from an outside perspective, your job is to help people get to the root of the problem and help them solve it. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

2. Assume innocence

The best way to approach conflict resolution in the workplace is to assume innocence. You don’t want to take sides or form opinions until you’ve heard both sides of the story. When the inevitable conflict arises, pull both sides aside and get their version of events. If justified, I bring both people together and solve the problem. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

3. Make everyone feel heard

Some degree of conflict is inevitable when people work together, sometimes under pressure to meet deadlines and customer demands. When conflicts do arise, it is important that managers make each party feel that their position is valued. Give everyone a chance to share their perspective without interruption. You may not be able to please everyone, but you can make everyone feel heard. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

4. Be open and honest

Conflicts are inevitable. It is part of life and is often the catalyst for change. Leaders may choose to avoid it, but doing so can cause resentment and frustration. To avoid this, leaders must approach conflict resolution by being open and honest about their feelings, listening to the other person’s point of view, and then finding a solution that works for both parties. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Focus on the problem, not the individuals

The best way to resolve conflict at work is to focus on the problem and not the individuals. Establish guidelines on how to resolve conflicts if they ever arise between employees. Always make it clear that it is about the problem and not about the individuals. This will create expectations and people will be more observant about it, which can reduce conflict altogether. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

6. Speak to both parties separately

Most stories have two versions and a conflict arises because people don’t want to think beyond their own perspective. So talk to both parties separately. This gives them a chance to express their anger while understanding both sides of the story. You can then talk to them and help them see the matter from each other’s perspective. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

7. Help them come to an agreement

Conflict resolution will test your skills as a listener and as a person. Be mindful of the behavior of both parties. Do both teammates have a good track record? Or does someone have a reputation for causing friction in your team? Get them to agree on a definition of the overall outcome and move toward that vision. They are both part of your team. Try to make everyone walk away with dignity. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

8. Have transparent discussions

One way I approach conflict resolution is through transparent discussions. I think it’s important that everyone understand their role and responsibilities and feel comfortable discussing any issues or concerns. By being open and listening to what others are saying, we can better understand the situation and arrive at a solution that works for everyone involved. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra

9. Encourage good communication

I always try to encourage my team to communicate openly and honestly with each other. This is a good example of how they can resolve conflict on their own. By communicating openly and honestly, we can usually come to a solution that everyone is happy with. However, if we hit an impasse, I’m always willing to mediate the situation to help find a solution that works for everyone. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows

10. Avoid Your Prejudice

I try not to form opinions beforehand. I believe this is the key to successfully resolving conflict in the workplace. We are all prone to unconscious biases, and it’s the most critical of the social stereotypes you form about people or groups without even realizing it. So I try not to succumb to any kind of bias or form opinions, and instead I resolve conflicts based on the facts presented by the parties. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

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