How to Manage Conflict Situations

How to Manage Conflict Situtions

Managing Conflict to build better working relationships was the most important issue for 43% of CEOs surveyed by Stanford Graduate School of Business.  As the challenges and impact of Covid-19, Brexit, the War in Ukraine and complex geopolitical situation, high inflation, the cost of living crisis, and industrial action continue to affect most people’s work and home life, interpersonal disputes and frayed nerves continue to cause issues.

At the best of times avoiding a heated debate can be a challenge, especially if you have a strong opinion which is opposite to the one being voiced or the new initiative being adopted.  Similarly, if you are tired and struggling with your workload, a conversation can quickly disintegrate in to an argument, as can harsh words exchanged by email.

Here are 10 tips to help you stay calm and in control:

1. We’ve all been told to count to 10 and if you can remember to breathe and think before getting in to a verbal disagreement, you’ll get a better outcome.  The same applies to sending an agressive email - pause before hitting 'send'!

2. Sometimes it is clear that the other party may not be fully aware of all the facts of the situation.  Listen carefully and advise them in a controlled tone that they may have to access more information.

3. Try to remain assertive and not become aggressive.  Being objective, not being personal, and taking the emotion out of the situation will assist you with this.

4. Sometimes you may have to agree to have a ‘time out’ if a debate is getting too heated; sleeping on a problem may well help.

5. Try to remain rational and don’t lose your temper.  Who hasn’t seen a manager or colleague become too emotional and slam their fist down on a table or walk out slamming the door behind them?  To maintain levels of respect, always keep your cool.

6. Know when to walk away; if you can see that there is no point in arguing or standing up for your opinion because of a new company-wide remit, then chances are you may have to adapt.

7. Don’t get personal; use ‘I’ or ‘we’ as opposed to the accusatory ‘you’.

8. Gently suggest alternative solutions and actions to the one being proposed.

9. Handle objections by asking questions.  If someone is making an objection to your proposal or suggestion, it can be useful to respond with a question, for example: ‘If we can't start this training session now, when would be a better time?’

10. Clarify what needs to happen to resolve the situation and confirm the next steps towards it.

During Natural Talent’s Coaching and Training modules managers practise controlling their breathing to remain calm and deal with unhelpful body language. They identify and understand passive-aggressive behavior and how to deal with it. Managers also learn how to stay objective and not get personal, by using neutral words.

They also understand the importance of clarifying the main issues causing disagreement because often this can become lost or muddled in a heated debate. Managers practise establishing facts around the issue and understanding the values and feelings of the other person which may be driving the argument. They practise discussing options and generating alternative solutions, as well as how to handle objections.

‘This really assisted me in overcoming my problems to achieve my own and the company’s goals.’  CTO

You can  read some of our Client Success Stories here and watch one of our videos here:  Please contact us to discuss your requirements or to book a Coaching or Training module.