manager, you should always see conflicts as an opportunity and make use of them
by discussing the conflict in such a way that it produces a win-win situation
for both you and the employee. Read about some techniques that will help you
deal positively with conflict.
1. Listen actively during conflict
During a conflict resolution meeting listen attentively and regularly repeat in
your own words what you think you have understood. Of course, the idea is not
simply to repeat what the other person says, but rather that you should say
what you have understood in your own words. That prevents both sides talking at
Useful are statements such as "So, you believe that ...." or
"If I have understood you correctly, then you want ...".
2. Ask questions
If you are really interested in the other person's views, you want to
understand what the person really means. This is the only way that you can
discuss the conflict constructively. So, always ask if something is not clear
to you. To get a better understanding, ask questions such as "What do you
mean by ..." or "Could you explain that in more detail?"
3. Summarize what you employee has said
If what the other person has said is very long-winded or complicated, you can
summarize it and get to the point: "May I summarize what you
4. Compare the different interests
In conflict resolution meetings it is especially important to clearly identify
the different interests of the conflicting parties. This is the only way to
find a win-win solution.
Practical hint: In conflict
resolution meetings work with a flip chart, pin board, or other visualization
5. Visualize the situation using
metaphors and examples
For many people it is helpful if statements or connections are explained with
metaphors or examples. In the conflict resolution meeting try to explain a
statement with the help of a specific example or tell a story that comes to
6. Offer food for thought
During the discussion, ask questions that allow all those involved to think
outside the current situation. Questions such as: "What has to happen so
that we can resolve this conflict?", "What would happen if ...?"
or "What would the ideal situation be?" Questions such as this often
broaden the horizon of everyone concerned and the discussion can be continued
on a different, more constructive level.
7. Clearly highlight unanswered
questions in the conflict resolution meeting
Clearly highlight issues that cannot be clarified or for which no satisfactory
answer can be found at that time. Write these down on a flip chart or on a
sheet of paper so that everyone can see that they have not been forgotten
during the meeting.
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