How can we get our teams to work together more effectively? Let’s face it not everyone is going to get along with everyone else. That would be too easy.
Let’s start with a simple question - Is conflict good or bad? The reality is that conflict can be both good and bad. If the conflict is about solving a challenge and two people disagree on the process that is good conflict because more than likely they will resolve the issue and maybe by using a little from both parties. Now if the conflict becomes personal, then it is bad for everyone involved and even sometimes for those on the sidelines as well.
So regardless of the conflict let’s look at a simple six step reaching conflict resolution:
- Get everyone to agree that a problem exists: A classic example where no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room. Get it out in the open and get agreement that there is a problem.
- Brainstorm potential solutions: This is critical and everyone involved with the problem needs to be involved. Remember it is a brainstorming session and not a problem solving session.
- Discuss all of the solutions and come to a mutual agreement: Again after the brainstorming session let the ideas settle for a little while and then gather everyone together and discuss the solutions and come to an agreement on the next process and set an agreement in place.
- Expect cooperation from everyone and share these expectations: This stage is one that many dismiss - by getting everyone to share his/her expectations they are in effect gaining mutual buy in and creating mutual accountability.
- Sign the agreement discussed in step four above: The buy in gets deeper when all parties sign the agreement.
- Have a systematic follow through plan in place. If you are not tracking the progress how will you know if the plan you put into place is indeed working or not. This allows you to provide appropriate feedback to everyone along the way as well.
When you follow a plan you will have a better likelihood of resolving the conflict in a win/win scenario.
Think of it this way - would you begin to take a road trip to a new destination you have never been with a set of directions or GPS? Think of these six steps as your GPS towards conflict resolution.
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