Resolving Conflict Without Going Crazy
Going through an organizational or team conflict is not something most people want to experience. Conflict happens when you have strong leaders aggressively working towards a strong mission. Having a good framework can help you walk through the challenge of resolving conflict in an objective way.
Resolving conflict without going crazy involves:
- Understanding the conflict from an objective standpoint.
- Setting a strategy for resolution with humility and honesty.
- Taking wise action and checking in later.
Being a part of a major organizational conflict is something that still gives me nightmares. Because of some poor leadership decisions and attitudes of the senior leader, the organization lost up to half the constituents.
For years, I felt like I was on the verge of going crazy! The organization started showing signs of stress and dysfunction just like the individuals who were involved.
At the root of that crisis was a lack of humility, a willingness to listen and an abrasive conflict resolution style. The organization tried to solve the conflict internally but it didn’t work.
The Benefits of resolving conflict include:
- Improved productivity
- Better teamwork
- Improved morale with a positive environment
- Healthy relationships
- Reduced stress
- You and your organization won’t go crazy!
There is a coaching framework called “Resolving conflict without going crazy” which can help.
Here are 3 of 8 areas and some of the questions for you to consider to get started.
Area of Inquiry #4 — Understand that you must be willing to resolve the conflict and take 100% responsibility to do so.
Goal: As Stephen Covey says, first listen and understand. In these two areas of need, we understand the other person’s needs in the situation as well as his or her overall style, aspirations, and drivers.
- What would the other person say about the conflict?
- What becomes possible for the other person if the conflict is resolved?
- What does the other person want?
- What are approaches that create an opening? (Listening, asking for their input, facts that matter to them, etc.)
Area of Inquiry #5 — Style Comparison
Goal: Understand your own and the other person’s communication and conflict styles.
- The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a helpful tool to help you assess your conflict style.
- How do you process time? (quickly, need more time)
- What is the preferred medium? (formal meeting, informal meeting, group meetings, etc.)
- What is the tolerance for details? (bottom line vs. going through all the details)
- What are the avoidance tendencies?
- What is the ability to adapt and be open to change?
Area of Inquiry #7 — If Things Go Wrong
Goal: When resolving the conflict, it is important to prepare in case the conversation goes poorly.
- Don’t let a meeting spiral out of control. Find a way to excuse yourself and come back later.
- What will you not to say to the other person, because you know it might cause damage?
- How you will respond if the other person says something that causes you to feel upset or angry?
- What will you say, if things get heated or otherwise emotional, to take time to cool down and come back together?
Real change comes in people's attitudes toward conflict and reconciliation through a renewed vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the engine that drives the train of reconciliation. ~ Alfred Poirier
What conflict do you have with somebody else that is hurting performance, making you feel uncomfortable, or making it hard to get things done?