Business

Conflict Resolution: How to Handle Team Miscommunication Problems

The first thing you need to understand about conflict is the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with tolerance level, team composition or homogeneity of your staff.

You see, people tend to argue, bicker or just disagree on a wide range of topics and sometimes these arguments get heated. Now, conflict is usually a word that has a negative connotation, yet, without conflict, some of the most important issues would never truly be resolved. Therefore, instead of focusing on avoiding conflict (which is fool’s errand) you need to learn a thing or two about conflict resolution. We’re, of course, talking about the most common source of conflict – miscommunication. Here are several tips you need to know.

Addressing issues immediately

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that conflict grows exponentially when left ignored. This gives each party in a conflict time to start coming up with arguments that justify their claims, regardless if they’re valid or not. When things get heated, people sometimes interpret mere disagreement as a direct assault on them. By addressing these issues right away, you can nip this problem in the bud and carry on to more important issues. The more time goes by without resolution, the more each party will get to overthink this (probably) simple scenario, which will make conflict resolution that much harder. Instead, you need to learn how to find value in disagreement.

Let everyone tell their story

The worst thing in conflict arbitration lies in believing that one side is wrong while the other side is right. Sure, there’ll be some scenarios in which someone is more in the right, yet, determining the objective truth is not really the main objective here. What you need to do is find a way to determine the best solution and ensure that no one feels left out. This means that your team gets to speak in terms and that everyone gets to tell their story, without interruptions. Sometimes, all those people in your employ want is to be heard or, at least, to feel like they’ve been taken seriously. Needless to say, this is the very least you can do.

Look for professional assistance

Professional mediation is both a science and an art form. It requires great people skills, in-depth understanding of interpersonal relationships and interpretation of data regarding office conflict. Self-empowerment, recognition and better understanding between your staff members are just some of many positive sides of professional mediation. Therefore, it’s usually for the best to hire, or at least consult, experts from Segal Mediation Group and inquire about various aspects of the mediation process. Regardless if we’re talking about private sessions or joint mediation, the truth is that you need some guidance and finding a reliable source is incredibly important.

Start actively listening

As a person in a position of power, you’ll set an example for your staff. So, if you alone are unable or unwilling to listen, really listen, to what your staff has today, how do you expect them to treat each other any differently? Still, it doesn’t end here, due to the fact that there are some exercises you could enforce, that would improve communication between your team members. This is not only crucial for the exchange of information but also for building trust within the team and improving personal relationships. The best thing is the fact that learning how to actively listen improves virtually any interaction of your employees, regardless if we’re talking about their relationships with their co-workers or their interactions with clients.

The art of compromise

Finally, you need to understand that even though come business cultures embrace the “there’s no right or wrong” policy, there are times when someone is just wrong. This is in a scenario that involves factual findings. If not, it’s all about finding that compromise. Now, this may sound somewhat harsh but you know that the compromise is a fair one when all parties are equally dissatisfied with it. If one side is visibly favoured by the end solution, this will only be a breeding ground for more conflict in the future, which is something that you need to try to avoid at all costs.

In conclusion

In the end, you need to understand that conflict resolution isn’t something that you can apply a one-size-fits-all solution to. Instead, you need to acquire mental tools and techniques that will help you whatever comes your way. We’re talking about identifying the problem, finding solutions and closing the agreement. Once you learn how to do this without offending anyone in the process your job here will be done.

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Audrey Taylor

Audrey Taylor was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full - time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies. 
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