5 Ways to Manage Conflict with Better Communication
By Doug Bolger
Conflict in the workplace is often inevitable, though effective resolution of these conflicts can positively impact your team, creating stronger communication and cohesion. Effective communication programs, such as those from Learn2, help organizations improve conflict resolution. Take a closer look at how to manage conflict in the workplace with these communication tactics.
Steps to Achieve Conflict Resolution Through Communication
1. Address Issues Directly and Openly
As soon as the conflict is recognized, acting quickly becomes necessary. Avoiding or ignoring the conflict allows time for the problem to worsen.
Act quickly by immediately addressing the issue openly with the team members involved. Encourage honest conversations and open dialogue. Ask different types of questions—open and closed-ended, opinion-based, and fact-based—to glean and encourage a good understanding of the problem. This makes it easier to address the issue at hand and have an effective discussion.
2. Manage Expectations
Managing expectations facilitates more effective communication and alleviates tension that could cause conflict. Team members need to know what is expected from leaders and vice versa. Likewise, leaders need to know what to expect from their peers, just as team members do.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends the following for managing expectations within the workplace:
- Emphasizing objectives with expectations
- Setting expectations as soon as possible
- Holding team members and leaders accountable
- Offering meaningful feedback
- Leveraging the power of motivation
Ideally, expectations will be set from the beginning, such as when a new team member is in training. However, it is never too late to implement clearly defined expectations among the team.
3. Develop Listening and Communication Skills
Creating a company culture in which colleagues actually listen to one another is incredibly important but often overlooked. Active listening is an immensely valuable skill. It has true impacts on effective communication and negating damaging conflict. When differences of opinion are combined with active listening, this allows individuals to see ideas in a new light. Oftentimes, the combination of unique opinions and active listening is the springboard for some great innovations. At Learn2, we offer communication skills training to help your team develop the necessary skills to resolve workplace conflict quickly and effectively.
4. Consider Implementing Neutral Terms and Open Body Language
Amid conflict, how you communicate can steer the situation in the right or wrong direction. Do what you can to separate the individual from the conflict. For example, instead of making statements that always begin with “you”, begin statements with “I”.
Maintain more neutral terms with open, calm body language during discussions to resolve conflict. This means being mindful of things like tone, posture, or hand gestures. Sometimes, the way something is said or the body language you hold is more eliciting than the words being expressed.
5. Understand and Respect Opposing Viewpoints
Every team member views their workplace environment and the people around them through a personalized lens. Diversity, background, culture, skill sets, and more are unique to the individual, so individuals interpret things differently, but they also communicate in unique ways.
One way to manage conflict resolution through communication is to embrace these differences. For example, if you hold a meeting with the entire team, understand that each team member may walk away with their own perspective on what took place or what was discussed.
Learn Effective Conflict Resolution with Communication Skills Training
With effective communication strategies in place, everything from everyday conflicts to potential crises evolves into productive talks and solutions. Learn2 is a leader in communication skills training. We offer workshops and training sessions that address typical communication challenges that arise in the workplace. Get in touch with us to find out more about our leadership development and communication training programs.
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