Conflict can determine whether an organization thrives or fails. Workplace conflicts cost American companies a staggering $359 billion a year. As an entrepreneur, if you don't know how to resolve a conflict effectively, you'll likely encounter challenges like poor employee turnover, workplace disruptions, decreased productivity, and employee mental health concerns.It's not just the workplace that suffers from poor conflict resolution—it also extends to our personal lives. When personal disputes are not resolved effectively, they can damage relationships with valuable connections. What Is Conflict Resolution?Conflict resolution is the civil process of solving disputes between people. While there are different strategies to deal with arguments, there are some fundamental skills that you can use to resolve any conflict effectively.Here are some valuable skills for resolving conflicts:Active ListeningActive listening involves paying attention to what the other person has to say. It allows you to think and process the ideas proposed by all parties involved in a conflict. Active listening also helps you identify if you're at fault, which can help you resolve conflicts more easily.EmpathyEmpathy is a powerful tool for conflict resolution. It allows you to acknowledge the feelings of all parties involved, helping you look at the problem from their perspective.CandorBeing candid in a conflict helps you share your feelings openly. But you should be respectful of the other person's views as well.Problem-solvingResolving a conflict requires a solution-oriented approach. When approaching a dispute with a problem-solving mindset, encourage civil discourse and seek to present your views to find the best possible solution instead of making personal attacks.Effective CommunicationEffective communication helps you resolve conflicts and prevents them from happening in the future. In addition, it facilitates a healthy relationship between parties after a conflict has been resolved.You can mitigate some conflict, but you can never avoid them altogether. People's different personalities, perspectives, and opinions are influenced by their unique life experiences. Embrace conflict as a way to learn and grow. When you are able to resolve disputes effectively, you become a more confident and inspiring leader.5 Steps to Conflict ResolutionEstablishing a safe space for civil discourse is essential to resolving arguments effectively. When everyone involved can express their opinions freely while remaining respectful, it is easier to find a mutual resolution.The following five steps can guide you through all stages of conflict resolution and help you find the best possible solution:
- Identify the cause of conflict
The first step in resolving a conflict is to identify its source. Let all parties share their side of the story and consider each other's viewpoints. If there is no clear resolution, ensure all parties agree on the source of the conflict.
- Look for other challenges
A simple incident is often the spark that ignites a conflict, which can be exacerbated by a clash of viewpoints, miscommunication, or heightened emotions. Look beyond the dispute and uncover the underlying issues that may have acted as resolution barriers by asking probing questions to all parties.
- Establish a common goal
After determining the cause of conflict, focus on solving the problem. Ask each party how they can resolve the issue and initiate a solution-oriented discussion in which you actively listen to their ideas. Finally, consider the proposals by each party to establish a common goal in the best interests of everyone involved.
- Determine the plan of action
Discuss the steps involved in achieving the shared goal. Decide on the tasks and obligations that each party will be responsible for. If necessary, draft a contract outlining the actions and deadlines to which every participant must adhere. Also, discuss the preventive measures to be taken to avoid conflicts in the future.
- Review the solution and evaluate the progress
After the mediation, decide when to evaluate the outcome. At your review session, assess whether or not the proposed solution is working. If it's not, revise the solution and create another strategy. Keep in touch with the involved parties regularly to understand their satisfaction with the outcome.When you ignore a conflict, you risk damaging your relationships with other people. Resolve conflicts to build trust, boost productivity, and enhance communication in your professional and personal life. You grow as a leader only when you address, resolve, and manage conflicts effectively.