Conflict in the work place is inevitable. People will argue, disagree, or treat another badly for many reasons. Racial prejudice, sexual prejudice, religious prejudice, or simply not liking someone can and will cause conflict.
Conflict resolution can be handled in a one-on-one manner (the boss talking to employees) or can be handled through mediation or negotiation. The one-on-one method will work in a small business setting where there is employee conflict or business conflict. In a larger corporate setting mediation or negotiation is often used to settle conflicts. Union negotiations are a good example of this. Listed below are some methods that may be used for conflict resolution. Many of these can be used in a one-on-one setting or in a larger setting where mediation is being used to settle a conflict.
1. Separate the people from the problem.
One specific technique that can work is to change the shape of the table rather than sitting opposite your 'opponents', arrange the seating so that all the parties are sitting together facing a flip chart or blackboard where the problem is presented. That makes it clear that all the participants are facing the problem together, that instead of it being 'us' against 'them', it is a case of 'all of us' against 'it'.
2. Distinguish between interests and positions.
When preparing for a negotiation, or after it has begun, don't just ask "What do they want?" It is also important to ask, "Why do they want it?" It is equally important - and often more difficult - to ask the same questions about your own views. Many successful negotiators find they will be more successful if they focus on understanding their interests as they enter discussions. If they haven't started out with a perfect package, the ideas of others may actually improve their final result.
Negotiators who arrive with a complete package can create real problems. Modifications to their ideas might be taken personally, they may be stubborn, and reaching a satisfactory resolution is made more difficult.
3. Consider your BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement).
If you do not reach an agreement with the other, does that really make things worse for you? When you're selling an antique Rolls Royce and have received an offer of $43,250, you know what another potential buyer has to do to get you interested. Of course, the first offer may plan to use the car for chauffeuring wedding parties while a second offer collects and restores antique cars and preserves them indoors. In determining you BATNA, a straightforward review of your interest will give you the clearest picture.
If you accept your BATNA, you know when you can simply turn your back on the negotiations. But it is important not to ignore the other party's BATNA. The relative strength of each party's BATNA will determine the balance of power each can exercise.
4. Silence is golden.
This is true for two reasons: If...