Conflict is inevitable. Conflict can occur in your personal life or at work. In the workplace, conflict may arise between you and a co-worker, between two employees you supervise, between your department and another, or between your organization and a customer or client.Its source can be differences in personalities (e.g., extrovert and introvert), goals or expectations, values or beliefs, circumstances (e.g., money and time), or facts (e.g., different sources). Conflicts associated with values and beliefs tend to be the most difficult to resolve because they are so deeply rooted.

These skills enable you to resolve or manage conflicts effectively and are explained in more detail in the supplementary notes. Conflict may be healthy or destructive. At its best, conflict fosters creative thinking and the opportunity to improve. Healthy conflict is marked by the ability to disagree on one issue while working collaboratively on others. At its worst, conflict sabotages relationships, destroys morale, and polarizes people. Fortunately, destructive conflicts can be resolved. The following techniques can be used either when you are directly involved in the conflict or when you are an outside party with a vested interest in seeing it resolved.

Four Options
Yield. This approach should be used when the issue is less important to one person than to the other or when maintaining the relationship is more important than the issue. It is also the logical approach when one person knows he or she can’t win or wants to bank a favour.

Compromise This approach works best when the parties have some areas of agreement on which a mutually agreeable solution can be built or, as in yielding, when the relationship is more important than the issue.

Overpower This approach should be used only in an emergency or when the issue is more important than the relationship.

Collaborate This approach requires people to work things out. It fits best in the situations that may repeat themselves or when the relationship has been long term.

Techniques to resolve conflicts
a. Act promptly The longer a problem goes unattended, the greater the chance it will escalate into a major issue. If the conflict involves emotions, the parties will need time to cool off; 24 to 48 hours should be sufficient.

b. Schedule a meeting Whenever possible, meet face to face so that the participants can take advantage of nonverbal cues. Choose a neutral location so neither party has a territorial advantage.

c. Use active listening Every conflict has two sides, and each person fervently believes his or hers is the accurate or “right” side. Both people want to be heard and understood. Before a conflict can be resolved, both parties must be able to separate what happened from what they feel about it. Paraphrasing can be valuable in this effort.

d. Focus on the problem, not the person Laying the blame delays resolution. The parties must respect themselves and each other.

e. Brainstorm solutions Look for win-win opportunities; negotiate if necessary.

f. Formalize the solution Putting the solution on paper allows both parties the opportunity to see as well as hear it and minimizes the likelihood that they will later disagree on the solution.

g. Implement the solution and set a date for follow-up The follow-up creates an air of accountability.

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