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Suppose you have become aware of a conflict. You’ve met with each person individually and gained a better understanding of the situation. It’s now time to bring the two parties together!
As a leader, your aim is to defuse their feelings of anger and begin resolving the conflict. In the course of the meeting, you should:
When you bring them together, ensure both parties state clearly what they need from each other. Start the meeting by explaining that you will manage the discussion. Point out that there are some rules to follow to help each person say what they need to say without interruption. At first, one person will be speaking and the other will be listening.
Explain that, as the speaker begins to speak, if the listener notices their feelings start to rise, this is what you want them to do: “Notice where you feel the feelings in your body, acknowledge them without needing to act them out, and bring your attention back to listening.”
The speaker needs to say to the listener, “This is what my experience has been like up till now, and this is what I need from you to put things right.”
The speaker should clearly state what they need from the other person. But the speaker cannot accuse, complain, or ask questions.
Ensure that each party, when they are listening, asks questions only for clarifying purposes. So, one at a time, each person tells the other what they need from that person to resolve their differences. And the listener can only ask questions to clarify what the speaker has said and what they have been asked to do. They cannot disagree, agree, apologize, explain, deny, or excuse.
The speaker continues and answers any questions the listener asks for clarification. And then the speaker indicates when they have finished.
When the speaker finishes, explain to both parties that now it is the listener’s job to repeat back. They need to paraphrase, as accurately as possible, what they have just been told or what they have been asked to do.
The speaker’s job is to correct the listener until they are satisfied that everything they said has been accurately heard.
And it is then the other person’s turn, and the same process is repeated through to the end.
Two bloggers disagreed with one another so much, they could not work together. They were usually kept on separate projects to help reduce the possibility of conflict. However, they were both required to work together on an urgent project. Sure enough, within a week, tensions were rising between the two. Their bitterness towards each other was beginning to sour the entire marketing team.
The team manager had gone through the preliminary process with each of them and now had invited them both to a meeting. Each blogger was allowed to speak without interruption and state what they needed from the other. During the course of the discussion, the manager discovered that both bloggers were enthusiastic gamers and they enjoyed bringing elements of gamification to their blogs. However, the two bloggers had different ideas on how best to do this. Also, the older blogger felt that he was beginning to fall behind on the latest social media marketing tools. Because of the tensions between the two bloggers, the older blogger was reluctant to ask his younger colleague for help.
The manager encouraged the bloggers to share their ideas for making compelling blogs that injected an element of fun into their calls to action. And he encouraged the older blogger to ask the younger blogger or the manager for support whenever he felt lost in the technology. And he checked that everyone understood what was agreed between them. Soon they were discussing plans for working on a new blog together.Back to Top
Bill Phillips is an International Facilitator, Trainer, and Team Coach.
In this module, Bill is the instructor for the ‘Conflict Management’ lesson.
Will Francis is a Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker.
In this module, Will is the instructor for the ‘Crisis Management’ lesson.
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
Every leader will be faced with conflicts between team members from time to time. Some leaders have to deal with major crises too, where the company’s reputation – and sometimes its very survival – may be at stake. This module can help you respond effectively in such situations.
You will learn how to manage workplace conflicts effectively when they break out. You will discover techniques you can use to deal with the warring parties and defuse their anger, as well as helping them to resolve their issues and find common ground.
You will also be introduced to the principles of crisis management. You will find out about the types of crises that typically affect organizations, and how you can prepare for them in advance. You will also learn how to handle crises in the short term, and the steps you can take to repair damage and rebuild trust with your customers in the long term.