Handling Conflict

by Cheryl Vallejos, CPBA, CPVA

Conflict is a part of life. People will always have their differences. In the workplace, people can disagree over anything, such as policies, decisions, ideas and strategies. Even in close relationships, people have disagreements over money, children, outings, events and other people.

Conflict is not always bad. When it is addressed and resolved, conflict often leads to positive changes, increased productivity, better decisions, innovation and bonding among people. But conflict unresolved can lead to poor productivity, low morale, distrust and failure. A leader must know how to handle conflict and do it with speed.

Conflicts may occur for two reasons:
  • Personalities
  • Issues and objectives

    You can't change someone's personality, so don't spend valuable time trying to do so. But don't let a personality conflict between team members degenerate into refusal to communicate or work with one another efficiently. Simply remind team members that they are not required to like each other, but you do expect them to put aside their personal differences and focus on achieving the team's goal.

    Many conflicts may just be misunderstandings. Once everyone knows the facts, the misunderstandings may disappear. Good communication helps in many conflict situations.

    Methods for Resolving Conflict

    Here are a few ways to approach resolving conflict.
    1. Ignoring it
      In some situations, the issue may not be important and it may be best to ignore it. Often, though, this method doesn't work. The conflict doesn't go away, it festers.

    2. Smoothing it over
      This method is appropriate when the issues are more important to each person involved. This will preserve harmony and goodwill.

    3. Forcing
      A leader uses power to resolve differences. This method is best used when an emergency requires a quick decision. This method can cause some resentment. Use it with care.

    4. Compromising
      Each person makes a concession to arrive at a solution to get to results. Since each person will lose something if the situation continues, they may have less support for the solution. This takes listening and working together.

    5. Collaboration
      This is a good way to resolve conflict. Each side recognizes the other's needs as legitimate and important. They acknowledge their ability and expertise with respect and mutual understanding. Each person works together to arrive at an agreement. This will resolve the conflict.
    Rules of Collaboration
    • Mutual respect
    • Discuss mutual purpose
    • Create safety in the conversation
    • Identify areas of agreement
    • Identify areas of disagreement
    • Search for solutions
    • Reach consensus
    • Keep an open mind

    Brainstorm solutions
    Discuss possible solutions and brainstorm methods of agreement to maximize the end result. After the ideas are exhausted, each person should discuss both positive and negative aspects. Eventually, the list is narrowed to the idea that best resolves the problem.

    Cheryl Vallejos is a certified in Law of Attraction practitioner who imparts her wisdom on attracting happiness, success and prosperity - mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Cheryl is author of "Injecting the Juice into Leadership" and "Time on Your Side" is a professional business coach and consultant with over 22 years experience in business leadership. She works with professionals who are ready to attract more success, happiness and abundance in their life as they combine The Law of Attraction with business building techniques. Click here to sign up for the FREE electronic book,"Using the Law of Attraction for Personal and Professional Success" or contact her for more information:

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