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4 Stellar Conflict Management Tactics You Need For Constructive Performance At Workplace

conflict management at team meeting
Conflict management requires patience and active listening

To get a profound understanding of conflict management, let's start with its definition. In layman's terms, conflict is nothing but 'Difference of Opinion or Interest' regarding a specific topic. Managing conflict is the practice of handling these differences of opinion reasonably and efficiently.

Suppose you have had the opportunity to collaborate with others on an assignment or project. In that case, you realize that conflict is inevitable, and for that reason, managing dispute is a requisite skill.

Why Workplace Conflict Surface?

If we think objectively about it, everyone has a different upbringing, values, environment, and interpretation, which implies we can't expect them to be on the same page around the clock.

Contrary to popular belief, conflict is not a bad thing, but it's not a good one either. It's a little paradoxical, but you will get a clear picture after recalling Shakespeare's famous quote:

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

When a conflict arises, we are presented with two possibilities, either we strive to reach a standard solution by understanding and listening, or we get frustrated and leave the room.

The truth of the matter is both options will consume your energy, but the former will boost your conflict management skills, and the latter will fill you with bitterness.

The choice is yours. Now that you have a better understanding of What and Why, let's move on to How. We've compiled some data-driven conflict resolution strategies for managing disputes like a champ; let's look.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

1. Competing Against the Setback

When a conflict surfaces, by and large, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and channel our energy in competing against our co-workers rather than the problem which caused the conflict. We think it's me versus my colleague, but in reality, it's both of you versus the issue at hand.

The rationale behind this 'me vs. my co-worker' attitude is our inaptitude to control emotions which eventually run wild and hinders thinking straight.

If you can not see eye to eye with your colleagues on an assignment, the reason is they identified some flaw in your plan and not due to a personal grudge. Just like you, they also want to reach a viable solution. Remember that your job is to win against the conflict, not the person.

So, to resolve workplace conflicts impressively, you've to develop the mindset of 'Competing Against the Setback,' which at any given moment keeps you aware of the fact that the common enemy is the conflict and not your work colleagues.

This allows us to spend our energy devising new ways to tackle conflict at hand rather than competing or criticizing each other, which will eventually result in nothing.

When we approach a workplace conflict with this mindset, we are bound to reach the best solution possible without any hitch and skyrocket workplace performance.

2. Split the Difference

Sometimes, the best weapon in our conflict management arsenal is to opt for a mean possibility. To put it simply, both teams try to compromise what they can to meet in the middle.

For instance, if as a leader where two workgroups from your team have their plan of action to finalize a new project. While the first group presented an economic plan, the second one came up with a time-efficient scheme. Both aspects are essential to a project. The logical and productive thing is to scrutinize both courses of action and opt for the best suggestions in each one. In this way, you will get the best of both worlds. You might lose some exceptional features, but the trade-off is all in a day's work for workplace teams.

We win some, lose some, but instead of viewing it as some defeat, use this opportunity to learn from your contenders, which will help us boost our performance and develop a sense of mutual respect. In this way, both groups would have contributed something than nothing, and no one will return feeling discontent.

3. Be Considerate and Polite

Don't intimidate your colleagues in the workplace, even if you have the authority or the seniority to do so. Why? The logic is simple, let's say you did exercise your prowess to win a dispute. This win is short-term. Afterward, your subordinates or colleagues won't bring up any new and unique ideas to you and will develop a fear, which will hinder communication. And once a team's communication is immobilized, the whole workplace can't function properly.

Let's conjure up a scenario where your solution for a specific problem is better than the second party. However, the latter is still steadfast in their approach. While it's easy to look down on the second party by pointing out their mistakes and inexperience in this turn of events, the better thing to do is to treat them the way you want to be treated if you were in their shoes.

If you make a mistake soon, they will get back to you with the same attitude with politeness, and consideration. It will oil the wheels for future partnerships with your co-workers. Sometimes, kindness is more important than being right when it comes to handling conflict.

4. Retreating

The last but not most minor tactic in conflict management is to pull yourself back from the situation. It might not seem like the boldest strategy, but it is a wise one in specific scenarios. Let's take a case where you find yourself amidst the conflict and know that your colleague is consumed by resentment and anger. The best course of action here is to leave the situation for a better time when that co-worker has come to his senses. In a similar vein, when a conflict crops up but you know that it is not worth spending time, your best bet is to withdraw and assert yourself at the most critical tasks at hand.

It was ultimately snowballing your overall productivity and performance at the workplace. While handling conflict using this strategy gives you the time to rethink, focus on crucial tasks and cool off the situation for the moment, it also has a downside.

Often, withdrawing can be interpreted as a treaty. Thus, when withdrawing, make sure your position in the workplace is not negatively affected.