Standing very still and waiting for the storm to pass may work in certain situations, but nine out of ten times, dealing with an issue directly is a far more effective and responsible way to handle conflict. Communicating openly with the people involved in the conflict won’t just help you arrive at a solution quickly, it’ll also ensure you’re clued into all sides of the story, which will circumvent any miscommunication that may have occurred.
The urge to take certain conflict personally can be tempting, especially if it involves criticism leveled directly at your work. It is important however to remember that criticism of your work is in no way a reflection of your character, and neither is any kind of criticism – be as professional as possible and extend the courtesy of being polite even to those you may be at odds with. This will work to diffuse any tension and allow you to carry on working together in a civil way, even if there’s an understanding you don’t get along personally.
More than anything, people want to be heard, and this is especially true in situations of conflict. Regardless of whose side you may find yourself favouring, ensure you’re giving everyone involved some time to vent will go a surprisingly long way in clearing up some issues immediately. Understanding where each person involved is coming from can also help you arrive at a negotiation that is equally acceptable to all parties since you’ll know exactly what they’re displeased with.
If you’re in a position of leadership and you’re finding yourself having to deal with conflict after some kind of miscommunication, part of your responsibility now includes having to outline expectations so your team members don’t run into the same situation again. All situations of conflict can be transformed into teaching moments if dealt with effectively, and you grow to be a stronger leader because of it.
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