Conflict can occur whenever two or more people see things differently, begin to think from an emotional point of view, and are unwilling to see the other person’s perspective. This is a common scenario and can easily be avoided by following this 6-step process. Follow this simple formula and you will find that problems can be easily solved with everyone feeling heard and respected.
Step #1: Use the “We’re on the same team” approach
Generally people desire harmony, so when approaching a conflict, remember that just like you, the other person wants to resolve the situation in a mutually beneficial way too. Therefore, you want to approach it with a collaborative, “we’re on the same team” approach.
Start off on the right foot by telling the other person that you desire to come to an agreeable solution. Control your emotions, use “I” statements, and avoid blame or judgment. Encourage the other person to do the same. This is an important step, as it will make the rest of the conflict resolution process MUCH easier.
Step #2: Seek to identify the problem collectively
Openly discuss the issue so you can understand both sides of the problem. The objective is to state clearly your thoughts, feelings and desires. Then quiet your internal and external voice and truly listen to what the other person has to say.
Step #3: Find a mutually agreed upon goal
By determining what it is you want out of the situation, you can then begin to work toward finding a solution. After identifying the problem, have each person share what outcome they would like to see.
Step #4: As a team, work to determine the best solution to the problem
Start by brainstorming potential solutions together. At this stage, there is no right or wrong. Instead, generate as many ideas as you can. Then, narrow the list down to the best solution that is acceptable to everyone.
Step #5: Cooperatively implement the solution together
Next, lay out a step-by-step plan of what each person will do and when. Also discuss what to do if you encounter some difficulty or there is a breakdown in the plan. It is helpful to put the agreement in writing so that each person understands their role and can go back and review the steps.
Step #6: Follow up and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution
Some conflicts cannot be solved in one fell swoop. If the resolution will take time to implement, you may need follow up, communicate about progress, and make necessary adjustments. Sometimes new challenges arise and you must continually be engaged in a cooperative dialogue throughout the entire process. Do not neglect it this step. Not following up is how conflicts go unresolved, resentments build, and the conflict ensues again.