It seems that every time people get together, there is an opportunity for conflict to develop. That’s why it’s so essential for employers to provide conflict resolution training for employees. This way, everyone will know how to react when conflict raises its ugly head. Here is some information on what conflict resolution is and the benefits it offers.
The Basics of Conflict Resolution
When conflict enters a business setting, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s only between two employees. Conflict in the workplace can also involve customers, vendors, and other partners. They may be dissatisfied with a service or upset with how they’re being treated. Of course, it is also common for employees who become angry when no one takes their points of view seriously or when others’ behavior is preventing the team from meeting deadlines.
The Process of Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution may involve either a formal or an informal process. The point is that the parties in conflict should have the tools needed to uncover a peaceful solution to their disagreement. For a resolution to be found, it’s important to identify the emotional traps that may lead to its existence in the first place. Here are some of them:
Many people tend to be overly confident in their beliefs or judgments, leading to expectations that are far from realistic. People may also become overconfident in their negotiating abilities, like a lawyer who is certain they will win a case.
Escalation of Commitment
There is a tendency among negotiators to irrationally escalate their commitment to their chosen course of action in a given conflict. They tend to stick to their guns even when their point is no longer relevant.
Avoidance of Conflict
It’s easier to tamp down negative emotions, hoping that the uncomfortable feelings will disappear over time. When the parties believe they are avoiding conflict by hiding their true emotions, all they’re doing is postponing the inevitable since conflict will tend to erupt later and with much greater force.
Resolving the Conflict
Given the wide variety of situations in which conflict may erupt, it’s vital to put in place strategies to minimize it or find ways to solve it. Here are some proven methods for conflict resolution.
Businesses need to establish the principles of collaborative negotiation in the workplace. The aim should be for conflict to be resolved without attracting negative publicity. If the conflict is not within the company but with an outside source such as a customer, vendor, or supplier, looking for trade-offs may bring on the desired resolution.
Mediation refers to the act of engaging the services of a third party who is neutral and able to see and understand both sides of the issue. The purpose of the mediator is to help the parties involved in the conflict reach an amicable solution instead of imposing a one-sided solution that will not resolve the conflict in the end. The mediator may encourage the parties involved to discover a solution that is voluntary and sustainable through an exploration of their interests and the desire to find what they may have in common.
Resembling a court trial, arbitration allows a neutral third party to make the final decision. After listening to the arguments presented by both parties and the evidence brought in by each side, the arbitrator renders a binding and, in many cases, confidential resolution that typically cannot be appealed.
In a lawsuit, the plaintiff and defendant face each other before a judge or jury. They will listen to the evidence presented and to the testimonies of witnesses and make a final ruling on the conflict.
Businesses should make every effort to avoid reaching the point where litigation is the only viable option since this is not only an expensive way to resolve a conflict, it can also be disheartening and protracted.
HR Future Staff Writer