Resolving Business Conflicts

Business Conflict Resolution

Steps to Conflict Resolution

1. Be prepared
2. Do not judge
3. Find source of conflict
4. Be decisive
5. Remember to follow up

Conflict resolution absorbs 30-40% of a manager’s time in the workplace. You may find that a lot of your time is taken up resolving personal or business conflicts. How can you best deal with these conflicts and resolve the issues?

What is Conflict?

Conflict occurs when two opposing parties have interests or goals that appear to be incompatible. These cause debates, arguments, fights, or more. There can be a perceived incompatibility between two individuals in their:

  • Ideas
  • Actions
  • Beliefs
  • Goals

In an article published by the American College of Physician Executives, James Richardson said that “when we think of the word conflict, we usually think of more than simple disagreement. We think of individuals or groups in sharp disagreement over issues, ideas or interests. This results in an emotional disturbance between the involved parties, with stress developing and undesirable behaviors exhibited.”

What can happen if you have unresolved conflict?

Conflict is a normal and natural part of our workplace and personal lives. It can be helpful in making changes within the home and work environment.

However, unresolved conflict can result in a feeling of:

  • Dissatisfaction
  • Unhappiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression

It can result in behaviors like:

  • Physical and emotional withdrawal
  • Resignation from jobs
  • Dissolution of personal relations
  • Aggression
  • Violence

Signs of conflict in your workplace include: backbiting, undermining activities, cloistering, “the blame game”, non-productive meetings, tension, power brokering, withholding information, and sabotage. Watch out for these signs and then take action to end the conflict.

Steps to Resolve Conflict

1. Be prepared

You should be prepared to help resolve the conflict. Understand the situation, the people involved, and the rumors surrounding the situation.

2. Do not judge

Do not judge one side or the other of the conflict. Judging one party will cloud your ability to resolve the conflict.

3. Find source of conflict

You must find the root cause of the conflict. The two parties might be telling you symptoms and not the cause. Use your discernment to find the real source.

4. Be decisive

When you make a decision, make it! Be decisive and resolve the conflict. You may need to impose a solution, though you may be able to find a win-win solution.

5. Remember to follow up

Followup with the parties to ensure hard feelings don’t fester!