RESOLVING CONFLICTS

by pat brownlee on March 22, 2012

It’s only natural that there are going to be workplace conflicts, as well as those disagreements at home.  Knowing how to settle them is like fitting all the pieces of the puzzle perfectly.  In the workplace, the supervisor is also the mediator.  Being a good mediator means that he/she can effectively resolve situations where different people with different ways of doing things can lead to personal and professional growth. 

Not taking things personally is very hard when it comes to being critized about your job.  Often times, intense personal animosity can result; that leads to too much downtime, teamwork breaking down, and wasted talent as people lose interest in their job.  It can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and recrimination.  

Suggestions to Mediate and Resolve Conflict:

  • Meet with the antagonists together.
  • Make sure that good relationships are the first priority.
  • Set out the facts.
  • Separate the people from the problems.  Many times one person may not be being difficult, but has real and valid differences with the other person.  Listen first; talk second.
  • By listening carefully you’ll understand why the person is taking his or her position.
  • See if each participant can describe actions they would like to see the other party take.
  • Open up communications.
  • Explore options together; a third resolution may exist and you can reach this point together.

Some of the benefits that a mediator may reap from communication skills are the following:

  • Improved self-knowledge.  Conflict pushes individuals to examine their goals in close detail, helping them understand the things that are most important to them, sharpening their focus, and enhancing their effectiveness.
  • Increased group cohesion: When conflict is resolved effectively, team members can develop stronger mutual respect, and a renewed faith in their ability to work together.
  • Increased understanding: The discussion needed to resolve conflict expands people’s awareness of the situation, giving them an insight into how they can achieve their own goals without undermining those of other people. 

Conflict Mediation in the Home 

Usually, workplaces have mediation processes in place.  It isn’t quite that simple in the home.  Who among us haven’t had differences with our spouses, parents, or children?  If you have such conflicts in your home, try establishing a conflict resolution process, including the location.  The place you choose may play a large part in resolving those problems.  The bedroom should be a safe and loving place in a marriage; therefore, you should never designate your bedroom as the conflict resolution area.  If, on the other hand, you are resolving a disagreement with your child, his/her bedroom is a good idea, as they feel safe in their bedroom and can open up to you better. 

For adults, your living room, dining room, kitchen or other room you are both comfortable in should be the place you sit down and work things out.  Talking things out should not be done while others are in the home.  Find a time when each of you has the opportunity to talk.  Don’t interrupt, but show respect for each other by listening to each point of view, and then do your best to understand and go about acknowledging mistakes that may have been made, and vow to try to rise above that point.  Loving couples have arguments at one time or another; but by talking it out, problems can be resolved without the “cold shoulder” treatment.  You may be surprised by something that has been bothering your spouse that you weren’t even aware of. 

It isn’t always easy to resolve conflicts at home or work – but it is always important to settle disagreements before they spin out of control.  Whether it’s talking things out by two family members, or having a mediator guide two persons to smoother waters at work, the mediator crafts a work environment that enables the success of the people who learn it.  Conflict mediation is an example of “practice makes perfect.”

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