Principles For Managing Conflict At Work

Maintain Mutual Respect: Ask yourself or get parties to ask: “How can I discuss our differences in ways that allow the other person to retain his/her dignity? How can I avoid having the other person feel denigrated or put down?

Seek Common Ground: Explore overarching goals, values and shared purpose. Try to see things through the other person’s eyes.

Focus on The Problem, NOT The Attack: Focus on what people are saying about the problem.

Objectify The Situation: Help people focus on what happened, the behavior causing the problem, what the impact is and what ideas they have for solutions.

Emphasize and Acknowledge Both People’s Situation: Try putting yourself in both peoples shoes and try to understand the emotional impact which the situation is creating for them.

Acknowledge The Needs of Both People: Empathize verbally with them and allow them to vent their emotions so that you can establish yourself as being understanding of both sides.

Validate Feelings: Help make emotions explicit and acknowledge emotions as legitimate.

Listen Actively: Verify and provide feedback to both parties: let both parties know that you are genuinely trying to understand both parties’ position and interests, and that you are trying to help. Summarize what you are hearing as the more neutral source. Seek clarification on your feedback to make sure that what you heard is correct.
Separate fact from opinion

Keep Perspectives Open: Help both parties see the situation from their own perspective, from the other person’s perspective (getting into the other person’s shoes), and from the perspective of a neutral third party (or fly on the wall).

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