27 Conflict Resolution Skills to Use with Your Team and Your Customers

The department of energy in the room is tense .
possibly a team-wide announcement was equitable released that took everyone by surprise. Or possibly it ’ s Monday after the company holiday party that got a sting chancy .

You can feel that conflict is brewing between some of your coworkers, partners, and maybe even customers, and you want to know whether to address it or avoid it.

ampere much as we ‘d all love to work in an arrangement that ‘s free from disagreements and conflicts, we know that we ca n’t. Conflict is a type of communication that helps us collaborate to solve problems and better our environments so we can thrive within them .

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tied with that said, many of us calm fear conflict. We want everyone to be satisfied and for every workday to be a breeze — and conflict can ’ t possibly be conducive to that finish … or can it ?
Conflict is a healthy, authoritative part of any relationship, specially those at exploit. It means that people are actively negotiating their needs and expectations with others, and that ’ s precisely what helps us stay felicitous with our workplace interactions .
In this blog post, we ‘ll review different dispute management skills and conflict resolution strategies you can use to navigate a battle you may be experiencing correct now or one that you might experience in the future. You ’ ll besides learn how to adapt your conflict stylus to yield generative solutions for everyone involved .

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution is the process in which two or more parties work toward a solution to a trouble or dispute. The parties involved work together to achieve a solution that solves the trouble in a way that is productive .

Conflict Management Skills

Conflict management can be approached using a assortment of different styles. While these styles may differ, every method acting utilizes the lapp management skills. To successfully manage conflict, you ’ ll motivation to hound each of these skills and learn the good time to exercise each one. Below are some of the core skills and characteristics that you ’ ll need to adopt if you want to efficaciously manage workplace conflicts .

1. Active Listening

active heed focuses on being attentive to what the other person has to say. This skill is normally used by salesperson to better connect with customers during a slope, but it ’ s besides a universal competence that any consummate professional should master .
To drill active listen, the most significant thing you can do is have an open mind ( and open ears ! ) To do this, make note of the other person ’ s phrasing. then, respond using their lapp wording. This demonstrates that you were listening and helps clear up any confusion about the points being discussed. additionally, be indisputable to ask questions when you ’ re confused about a point and focus on identifying the other person ’ s goals .

2. Emotional Intelligence

emotional news describes the ability to perceive and understand other peoples ’ emotions deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as your own. This skill is substantive when managing conflict because it prevents the site from escalating. If you can efficaciously interpret your confrontation ’ mho emotions, it ’ ll be easier to communicate with them without provoking them. Recognizing and curtailing confusion, anger, and frustration from the conflict leaves space for everyone involved to think creatively and logically about a solution .

3. Patience

Conflicts are rarely simple to overcome. If they were, there wouldn ’ thyroxine be 22,000 people searching for “ conflict resolution ” on the internet each month. Conflict resolution is so unmanageable because people don ’ metric ton like to be faulty and will often hold their position on an offspring because of it. If you ’ re looking to resolve a conflict with a person like this, you ’ ll need solitaire .
It ’ second important to keep in mind that the problem may not be solved mighty away, flush if the solution is obvious. ideally, you ’ ll want to take the clock time to listen to every participant and value each argument evenly. even if there ’ s a open answer, rushing to a resolution can make people feel like they ’ re left out in the decision-making serve. ( Although there is one exception to this principle. ) Taking the time to equally consider all options now can help create a long-run solution that will save you a headache later .

4. Impartiality

Another rationality conflicts can be unmanageable to resolve is because they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate always stay focused on the dispute itself. The conflict can sometimes serve as an opportunity to air former grievances that have developed between the involved parties over time. immediately, the problem at hand can ’ t be resolved until the historic issues are addressed .
In this type of situation, it ’ s best to separate the conflict from the people who are involved with it. Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate focus on the people and their personal characteristics. alternatively, search at the problem itself and center your energy on finding a solution. While it might be authoritative to work through those past issues at some degree, don ’ thyroxine deprioritize the position at hand now to solve the older ones. Remember the mantra : important vs. pressing. You can decidedly work on the other crucial issues that impede you from meeting goals at a late time, but pressing issues should be handled first .

5. Positivity

It ’ s hard to come to agree on a solution if no matchless is happy about it. even if you do agree, a halfhearted compromise doesn ’ thyroxine motivate you to actually follow through on your end of the bargain. This can even provide a participant with an excuse to avoid dealing with the conflict altogether .
Being positive with your dispute management actions is a great way to keep the conversation moving ahead. Conflicts are full of roadblocks and you ’ ll need to be volition to overcome them if you want to come to a resolution. Having a cocksure attitude going into the battle can help other participants who may be wary of the interaction feel more at ease .

6. Open Communication

Relationships between the people involved in a battle don ’ thyroxine always go back to normal when a problem is resolved. This relationship needs to be nurtured after a solution is found in order to prevent future issues from arising .
Creating an open line of communication between the parties is the best approach for fostering a goodly, long-run relationship post-conflict. This allows both parties to check in on one another and make certain that both ends of the agreement are being upheld. If new challenges arise, a precedent of loose communication should make it easier for participants to address the barrier without risking any progress they ’ ve previously made .
While understanding these skills can help you and your team wield conflicts and prevent them from escalating, it ’ south important to understand how you can apply them in carry through when a conflict emerges. In the adjacent section, we break down some of the ways you can use these skills to produce effective resolutions to conflict .

Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflict Resolution Skills

  1. Use yes, and statements.
  2. Don’t point fingers.
  3. Let the person explain themselves, and actively listen.
  4. Use I statements.
  5. Maintain a calm tone.
  6. Show a willingness to compromise or collaborate.
  7. Don’t talk behind people’s backs.
  8. Don’t take anything personally.
  9. Pay close attention to nonverbal communication.
  10. Prioritize resolving the conflict over being right.
  11. Know when to apologize and forgive.
  12. Focus on the conflict at hand and not past ones.
  13. Use humor, when appropriate.
  14. Remember the importance of the relationship.

The management skills that we listed above are all-important for conflict solution because they help produce effective, long-run solutions. Applying these skills at the correctly clock and in the right situation will help reduce miscommunication and create more opportunities for participants to reach common ground .
If you ’ re not quite sure how you can best use these skills to resolve your disputes, take a look at these tips we recommend considering when approaching your future dispute .

1. Use “yes, and” statements.

In any conflict, whether it be professional or personal, it ‘s comfortable to jump to the defense. Your kid might include a series of “ no ‘s ” and “ yes, but ” statements which might come across as disobliging .
preferably than getting defensive about an attack on your argument, take it as an opportunity to see things from a different point of position. You do n’t have to agree with that person, but you can try to understand where they ‘re coming from. Just as you have your opinion, they have theirs and refusing to hear their point of opinion creates an impossible scenario to navigate .
alternatively, change those “ I hear you, but ” statements into “ Yes, I understand, and ” statements that build off one another, quite than tearing each other down .

2. Don’t point fingers.

On the opposite side, jumping on the offense is besides aweless. Being on the offense creates a negative foundation that makes it about impossible to find a solution .
Do n’t put blame on others or create a space in which person feels insecure to voice their opinion. The best room to solve a dispute is by allowing each person to frame their argument without being blamed or shut down. After all, you would n’t appreciate the like being done to you, either .

3. Let the person explain themselves, and actively listen.

Listening is a huge aspect of conflict resolving power that ‘s typically overlooked. It might seem imperative to get your voice in deoxyadenosine monophosphate much as possible so you can explain every little contingent of your argument and try a hard as you can to get the opposing party to see your side. But don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate lease this idea tempt you. The temp satisfaction of “ airing it out ” international relations and security network ’ thymine deserving it in the long move .
alternatively, let the other person explain themselves, uninterrupted. You may find that you misinterpreted their original argument and you ‘ll be more equipped to handle compromise or collaborating on a new solution when you ‘ve taken the time to listen, think, and design .

4. Use “I” statements.

similar to pointing fingers, a series of statements that begin with “ you ” can come across as blame. Conflict shouldn ’ thymine be about what the other person is doing wrong ; it ‘s about what you believe you ‘re doing right and how to get the early side to understand .
frankincense, using “ I ” statements, such as “ I feel like I ‘m not getting the chance to explain myself ” rather than “ You ‘re not listening to me ” can transform your conversation. These statements make your argument more about your emotions, opinions, personal impression, and morals, quite than about all the things you do n’t like about the opposing party. No one can disagree with opinions or feelings you believe or standby, plus they make for a more respectful debate that reminds all parties that cognitively building complex humans are involved .

5. Maintain a calm tone.

You ’ ll profit from remaining healthy in order to think rationally about a solution that appeases both parties. This can be a street fighter one because it ’ s not always easy to hear your shade from person else ’ s perspective. Because of this, there ’ s one trick you can commit to avoid having a discourteous shade when mitigating conflicts .
Wait until you ‘ve let out your emotions before you plan a time to meet and discuss with the opposing party. You ‘re allowed to yell, cry, vent, or whatever else you need before the conversation takes place — but not during it. When you enter the conflict resolving power meet, you should be calm and quick to discuss with consideration for differing perspectives .

6. Show a willingness to compromise or collaborate.

Depending on the position, other conflict management styles may be more effective .

  • For smaller, trivial conflicts, avoiding them may make sense.
  • An accommodating style may work when the other party seems to care much more about the solution than you do.
  • A compromising style could be the choice when there is limited time to make a decision and you simply need to put your foot down.

however, in most other significant conflicts, it ‘s essential to come to some screen of agreement between both parties. sometimes you ’ ll merely need to let go of your pride and your bag on your argumentation. Show the opposing party that, a much as you care about the conflict and presenting your side, you care more about coming to a solution that is productive for everyone involved .

7. Don’t talk behind people’s backs.

What happens between you and the opposing party should stay between you and them, unless it ‘s absolutely necessary to divulge the details of your conflict .
But when ’ s a good time to partake the details of a dispute ?
Believe it or not, there ’ s a fortunate rule about sharing sensitive information like dispute resolutions — parcel improving, not out or gloomy. This means that if you feel comfortable and if it ’ mho significant to your character, you can confide in your supervisor or person in a higher side than you about the conflict. They can help you navigate the situation and help you form a support system for future conflicts that may arise. This besides means that you should never share the details with a colleague in a alike function or person dependent to you as they aren ’ metric ton likely able to offer this like degree of support. Conflict resolution should always be built on honesty with one another and trust that what was said will remain confidential .
While you may sometimes have the urge to release, consider other options to do so that wo n’t affect the reputation of that person. You could write out your feelings in a daybook or talk to person outside of bring who has no ties to that person and keep their list anonymous. This way, you can protect the privacy of the conversation .

8. Don’t take anything personally.

A conflict with a customer or team member is typically not a conflict with you, personally. It normally involves policies that you as an employee must adhere to or flush unexpressed expectations that other people have for your function or profession. frankincense, a conflict that emerges is rarely ever an attack on you as an individual .
many people get defensive or swage or reject to budge on an argument because they cling to their vantage point as a character of themselves. If you can learn to separate yourself from the conflict, it will be a lot easier to accept compromise or a collaborate solution that is, at the end of the day, better for all parties involved .

9. Pay close attention to nonverbal communication.

not everyone is capital at handling conflict frontal. These are the people who might typically list towards avoiding or accommodating conflict management styles. Basically, these people do n’t like conflict and wo n’t always be guileless with you about what they want or need. In these situations, it ‘s important to pay attention to their nonverbal communication .
body lyric can tell you when person is saying one thing but means another. By being emotionally mindful, you can notice when person ‘s pose, gestures, or facial expressions differ from their words. When person says “ I ‘m fine, ” you can tell they ‘re not fine if they avert their eyes. then, you can create an environment that makes that person feel more comfortable being honest with you.

10. Prioritize resolving the conflict over being right.

A conflict in the workplace is typically one that involves more than barely yourself. possibly it ‘s a torment call option with an angry customer or an issue with a policy change implemented by your coach. Whatever it may be, the situation goes beyond you .
frankincense, when you ‘re trying to resolve the battle, you might need to take a footprint back and assess the situation in such a way. Recognize that, even if you have a firm public opinion on one end of the spectrum, it might be beneficial to wave the white flag if it ultimately improves the conditions for everyone else. Conflict settlement is occasionally about making those sacrifices .

11. Know when to apologize and forgive.

Two of the hardest words to say are, “ I ‘m regretful. ” It ‘s not easy to apologize when you feel like you were correct all along. Do n’t let pride deter you from making amends with the opposing party .
In an example when the other person might be responsible for apologizing to you, you may feel so riled up about comments they made that you do n’t think you can forgive them. however, these relationships are professional, first. Put away your personal annoyances and forgive that person. This will make for a healthier relationship moving forward .

12. Focus on the conflict at hand and not past ones.

In attempting to resolve a conflict, you may start getting frustrated with the early person. This can bring up memories of past conflicts you ‘ve had with that person. And, in the heat of the here and now, it can feel like the perfective clock time to bring those up, besides .
I like to consider a 48-hour rule. If a conflict emerges or there ‘s something that bothers you about person else, you should reach out and ask to discuss it within 48 hours. Once that clock time inning has passed, you should let it go. so, any pent-up frustrations about past conflicts that were never resolved should not be brought up later on when trying to resolve a different dispute. The clock time has passed, and it ‘s important to remain in the present .

13. Use humor, when appropriate.

Using humor to lighten the climate during conflict resolution is merely appropriate in conflicts that are not personal. You never want to offend person by making a joke about a sensitive subject .
rather, consider liquid body substance to be a instrument to make you both loosen up and feel more comfortable discussing a solution. Read the opposing party, and use your best judgment to decide if humor is something they would appreciate. sometimes, that ‘s all it takes to end an argumentation and turn it into a constructive conversation .

14. Remember the importance of the relationship.

At the end of the day, a conflict is normally one small roadblock in an otherwise healthy relationship. Whether you need to remember the good times or change the scenery and discuss a different subject, try to remember how the relationship was anterior to the conflict and operate within that headspace as you reach coarse anchor .

Conflict Resolution Strategies

The Thomas-Kilmann Model of conflict resolution describes five strategies for addressing conflict. The five strategies lie on two axes : assertive and cooperative. Each of the strategies ranges between assertiveness and unassertiveness and cooperative and uncooperative. No strategy is right or incorrectly, there ’ s an appropriate time to use each one .
conflict resolution strategies on a chart that compares them in terms of cooperation and assertiveness.

Set boundaries.

Before diving head-first into the battle discussion, establish boundaries upfront for all parties to follow. These might include the follow :

  • Reminding everyone that the conflict is not personal
  • Asking everyone to keep the discussion confidential
  • Trusting everyone to manage their emotions and not make outburst, hurtful remarks, or make untrue statements

Have a third-party weigh-in.

In some cases, the conflict may merely be besides emotional to address yourself. If you ’ ra afraid of retaliation, discrimination, or other inappropriate or illegal ramifications for addressing conflict, it may help to have a third-party weigh in to address, or at least intercede, the conflict on your behalf. A neutral third party can either act as a sounding display panel to retrieve the facts from each party to achieve a resolving power, or they may just guide the conversation and keep time so that you don ’ thymine waste the workday having an unproductive conversation .

1. Accommodating

The accommodate style is normally seen when people want to be unassertive and cooperative. not every battle needs to be a war — conflicts worth accommodating are those battles that are strategically lost to win the war .
An example of a time where you might accommodate a colleague or customer is when they complain about a process, but not an consequence. possibly you ran a report that yielded the results the early party needed, but the report card was in PDF form and not Excel. The other person didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate specify a predilection but took emergence with the rescue. By plainly accommodating the request, you prove to be a helpful, solutions-oriented team penis. Plus, you ’ ll get bonus points if you deliver the discipline report promptly .

2. Avoiding

The avoiding conflict scheme is reserved for individuals who are more incline to be unassertive and uncooperative in mitigating conflict. by and large, this is an apathetic approach — people who adopt this scheme want no parts of the conflict and would quite wait for it to blow over .
This scheme is best for small annoyances, one-off mistakes, and issues that would otherwise be worsened by addressing them. An example of a conflict you might avoid in the workplace is when person drinks the end of the water from the water cooler without replacing the water container. If it ’ s a erstwhile issue, leave it be. It ’ s likely not worth the 2-minute discussion in the all-hands meet .

3. Collaborating

If you want to keep a relationship intact and find a solution that works for everyone, try the collaborative style of dispute resolution. This scheme is both cooperative and assertive which means that all parties will be heard and the solution that is chosen should work well for everyone .
An example of a dispute you might collaborate on at ferment is a work between two discriminate teams. possibly the sales team needs to hand off customers to the support team once the share is closed, but customers aren ’ t being contacted by support for days after the handoff. The two teams may collaborate to streamline the work flow. The sales team may stagger the deals they close so that confirm can keep up with the requirement. It ’ s a win-win for both parties .

4. Competing

assertive and disobliging, the competing conflict manner is an acute border on to resolving grievances. It ’ s not uncommon for a competing battle resolution strategy to yield a positive result for one party and a negative result for the other. This scheme isn ’ t one to make new friends, so tread lightly .
You might see a competing conflict management scheme used when negotiating deals. Lawyers may use this strategy to get the best legal consequence for their node at the expense of the other party. A competing scheme works hera because it ’ south highly improbable that the lawyer will cross paths with the opposing party again, so there ’ s no relationship to maintain or salvage late .

5. Compromising

People tend to compromise during conflicts when they are assertive and accommodative in negotiating a solution. This strategy may sound harsh, but it ’ mho normally employed when clock is of the perfume and there ’ s no clock to hear everyone ’ second concerns or opinions. The compromise is based on the most important and pressing facts that can bring about a decision that works for the time being .
A team might compromise on a solution to cancel an consequence at the last minute due to issues with the venue. While it may not be the best solution for tax income, prolonging the conflict doesn ’ metric ton help oneself the site. So a compromise to cancel the event and figure the rest out late is the best solution for customers, employees, and vendors .
In addition to these five dispute resolution strategies, the following two tips can accompany any of the above to reach a resolution .

Conflict Resolution Examples

Conflicts can emerge from respective different factors including miscommunication, prioritization, and unmet expectations. Below, we ’ ll report three scenarios that depict each of these common causes for battle and how to resolve them with one of the strategies listed above .

Scenario 1: Unmet Expectations

Marcus and Ollie work at TechTak, a start-up that provides commercialize and sales solutions to small businesses. They ’ rhenium working on a pitch presentation for their biggest client to date, SaveSend. The presentation is scheduled for following Thursday with Maria, the program film director at Save Send, so it ’ randomness significant that Marcus and Ollie finish it on fourth dimension .
At the alignment merging final week, TechTak ’ randomness customer services department capitulum, Riley, delegated the presentation capacity to Marcus ’ team and gave the blueprint responsibility to Ollie .
On the Tuesday before the presentation date, Riley sent an e-mail to check the status of the presentation and how well the two teams were working together. unfortunately, Ollie hadn ’ triiodothyronine received any content from Marcus ’ team to design the display around. On the other bridge player, Marcus hadn ’ thymine received creative direction or the recommend display length from Ollie so his team could write enough contented .
With Thursday ’ s deadline approach and no presentation conscription in sight, Ollie and Marcus are both thwart and anxious to complete the project on time. How should both teams resolve this dispute ?
Let ’ s search at the facts :

  • Time is of the essence and delaying the presentation isn’t an option.
  • Both Ollie and Marcus need more information to complete their assigned tasks.
  • The line of communication has been opened by a third party, Riley.

The Resolution

Based on what we know about each conflict solution scheme, the collaborative style would work well for this situation. Marcus and Ollie are under a clock crunch, and the work will need to be done in the following two days. They can use Riley as a neutral third party to help them outline the specifications of the plan and assign nonindulgent deadlines that both parties can agree on .

Scenario 2: Out of Order

Brenda and Candace both solve as administrative assistants for the local anesthetic credit union MetroMoney. Their roles are highly dependent upon one another, and as a solution, they ’ ve become adept friends both at study and in their personal lives .
At MetroMoney, Brenda focuses on scheduling appointments for new members to open accounts while Candace prepares the documents they ’ ll need to sign when they arrive. Due to the nature of the character, Brenda ’ s work flow moves much faster than Candace ’ sulfur. Brenda can schedule about 10 appointments each day while Candace can prepare about five document packages in her fault .
occasionally, some customer ’ south documents aren ’ metric ton prepared at the clock of their date as Candace prepares documents in the order that appointments are set, not the date on which they ’ re scheduled .
On this particular day, Brenda asked Candace to expedite the documents for two customers who were set to arrive soon. Candace responded that she couldn ’ thyroxine because her cadence would be out of order. rather, she asked Brenda to reschedule the customers ‘ appointments for a week late when their documents would be cook .
How can Brenda and Candace work together to make sure the customers will have their documents when they arrive at their appointment ?
Let ’ s look at the facts :

  • Brenda and Candace both have goals to achieve each day, neither of which can be ignored completely.
  • Timing is important, but there is some wiggle room for both parties to work within.
  • If the customers’ documents aren’t ready, they won’t be able to open their accounts, which affects the bottom line for both Brenda and Candace.

The Resolution

We know that Brenda and Candace have a hard relationship and some allowance in solving this emergence, so they could collaborate to solve the conflict. By asserting their needs and cooperating with each other, Brenda can reschedule the customers ’ appointments for the end of the workweek preferably than adjacent week as Candace originally proposed, and Candace can reorganize her workload to prioritize their documents inaugural. The profit of collaborating on this resoluteness is that both Brenda and Cadance can maintain their otherwise seamless working relationship without any difficult feelings subsequently on .

Scenario 3: The Interview

Sadie is applying for a character as a customer service representative at Humbolt Hardware, a hardware subscription service for DIY home renovators. Jim, the hire director, scheduled her consultation for Wednesday at noon and Sadie agreed to arrive at that meter .
On Wednesday, Sadie logged in to Zoom for her interview with Jim, but ten minutes passed and he didn ’ t show up or respond to her e-mail asking if he could inactive make it .
An hour late, Jim responds to Sadie ’ s electronic mail saying he ’ randomness on-line and ready for the interview .
Sadie was unavailable and didn ’ thyroxine see the electronic mail until later that evening. When she responded, they both realized that they were operating in two different time zones, and neither of them confirmed which one. Jim, unfortunately, doesn ’ t have any openings available to reschedule the interview tomorrow and Sadie is frustrated with the process frankincense far .
How should Sadie and Jim proceed ?
Let ’ s count at the facts :

  • Sadie is applying for a role and is willing to be flexible to secure the job with Humbolt Hardware, but she still wants to make the most of her time during the interview process.
  • Jim’s schedule is busy and he has several interviews scheduled aside from Sadie’s.
  • Neither Sadie nor Jim intended to miscommunicate the time of the interview and both made an effort to show up at the time they thought was correct.

The Resolution

The accommodating conflict resoluteness strategy is the most applicable in this situation. The bright slope is, both individuals have some motivation to accommodate the other person. Sadie wants to put her best foot advancing and be a stand-out campaigner for the function. Jim wants to vet all the candidates and fill the function a promptly as possible. so long as both parties specify the time zone of the interview this time around, they ’ ll have solved the conflict in a way that is amicable and productive .

Manage and Resolve Conflicts Like a Pro

conflict does n’t have to be a chilling eight-letter password. Addressing dispute is how we strengthen our relationships and express our expectations in relative to those of others. By understanding the five conflict resolution strategies and applying the skills that make them effective, you ’ ll know precisely when to avoid conflict and when to address it. Your relationships with your coworkers and customers will be better for it .
Editor ‘s note : This post was primitively published in March 2019 and has been updated for breadth.

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