At the end of last year I was fortunate to attend a training session ran by Fairway Resolution Ltd, focused on managing and mitigating workplace conflict. While we all hope we never have to go down this track, it is inevitable so it’s a great skill to keep developing.
There was a heap of interesting information to digest, so I thought I’d share my key takeouts:
1. All conflict starts with a relationship, and tension caused by behavioural (such as personality clashes) and / or structural elements (role clarity, processes etc).
2. While an event often triggers conflict – it is actually the emotional response and protective strategies (defences) that are employed by each party that escalates the conflict.
3. We’re more likely to put up defences when our significance, competence or likeability are challenged. BUT, you have to keep your defences in check to effectively de-escalate the conflict.
4. Conflict stories become more entrenched as time passes, particularly when the story is told repeatedly, so it’s important to intervene early.
5. Finding a resolution to conflict, requires understanding the interests that underpin the position, and this takes a whole raft of very skilled questioning.