3 Tips to Manage Conflict
With all the shenanigans in Parliament this week I was inspired to think about conflict resolution. It seems to have been a bit of a hot topic across networking groups, with queries around handling client issues and internal wrangling.
For the most part, I believe that conflict occurs when expectations are not met - on one side or the other. So here are MY tips on how to manage conflict. You may have other ideas and I'd love to hear them.
1. Prevent conflict occurring by Designing Your Alliance
Beyond the legalities of Ts & Cs, have a clear and open discussion around the parameters of your relations and how problems, if they occur, will be handled. Cover all the logistics stuff - what by when, who and how much. Then discuss the communications piece. If there's a hiccup agree to pick up the phone. Much quicker to diffuse a situation verbally than in convoluted email exchange.
2. Structure on-going meetings into the process. I know several of my tech clients have benefitted from regular update meetings with their clients, allowing them to flex the project as things change, monitor progress, inform any change of expectations required and meet payment goals.
3. If Problems occur meet in person either literally or virtually to talk it through. Emails and texts distort and enflame. Go into the meeting with your complaint/explanation planned and be clear on the joint outcome you agreed on and what you want to happen/what you will do to resolve. However, keep an open mind that together you may come up with an even better solution. Shift your perspective from this being a conflict to this being an opportunity to improve, learn and advance the relationship in a mutually beneficial way. This is NOT a battle, you are on the same side, wanting a positive outcome for both. Compromise will generally bring that outcome if ego and entrenched beliefs are set aside.
Expect a good outcome: give your best and give your associate the space to give theirs.
Further insights always welcome!