Conflict is a normal and healthy part of our lives, when properly managed. We all need conflict in our lives, as it is an opportunity for us to test limits and set new boundaries. But when differences of opinion are not constructively managed, they can escalate into big problems around boardroom tables. Conflict can cause heightened emotions and board members to take sides, and a disagreement can grow into something much more difficult to resolve. Successful conflict resolution can build trust and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
Hazardous Half Minute
VitalSmarts Research found that “most people do everything wrong in the first hazardous half-minute” of a disagreement, such as becoming combative or lashing out, oversimplifying the problem, being disrespectful, shutting down, accusing or taking offense, losing sight of the goal, or making assumptions about another person’s intentions. It is wise to step back and get perspective. Plan your approach, and open up dialogue. Once you have your emotions in check, and you’ve opened up dialogue with the other person, you are ready to move into the joint problem solving process to resolve the conflict.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen Covey
5 Steps to Joint Problem Solving
There are five key steps to a joint problem solving process:
- Identify the issue
- Look for different ways to resolve the issue
- Assess the alternatives to finding the best approach
- Develop and implement an action plan
- Follow up to evaluate the solution
Be prepared for interpersonal conflict. Use the tips and techniques in the Resolving Conflict in Your Organization fact sheet found here.