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Ten Different Ways To Solving Disagreement Between Others

My two office staff had a disagreement last week over the use of a computer, to the extent that it has already affected their interpersonal relationships and their output.

image from www.sxc.hu

image from www.sxc.hu

After I get them to realize that their differences were just petty, their cold treatment to each other had stopped, only to resume two days later, this time over a different matter.

I had to use my position as their employer to issue an ultimatum to stop fighting, otherwise, I will issue an written reprimand to each of them. Fortunately, the atmosphere in my office is now back to normal, as both of them are in good terms again.

This situation is not uncommon in many workplaces, offices and organizations. The key here is to make sure that personnel conflicts do not affect their performance and productivity while at work.

And disagreement does not happen between and among people in the workplace, but also in other fields of human relationships – in the home, family affairs, love relationships, friendships.

Since you can’t avoid conflict, why not manage it?

Along this line, two authors Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman had good tips on managing conflict productively.  These are as follows:

1. Avoid the disagreement. Don’t get dragged into disagreements that are not worth confronting or self-solving. However, don’t back away from conflict that must e resolved.

2. Bring in a third-party mediator or negotiator. This could be a higher up in the organization or someone both antagonists trust.

3. Remove the condition creating the conflict. It may be an unnecessary rule or some other organizational factor whose elimination will be less costly than the disagreement it’s causing.

4. Smooth over the differences. Get parties to realize that their differences are not that great.

5. Focus the parties on a super-ordinate goal. Point out how a solution will serve their mutual interests.

6. Focus the parties on the issues. Get them away from personalities and on to the substance of their disagreement. Often, this confrontation of issues forces an end to a confrontation of personalities.

7. Point out misunderstandings. Show how a lack of clear definition of terms maybe at the root of the dispute.

8. Deflate the “fact” myth. Don’t allow parties to say something is a fact unless it really is – which is almost never. Expose the impact that values and prejudices have on their positions.

9. Reverse the roles of antagonists. Change their perspectives by having each assume the position of the other for a specified period of time.

10. Force them to end the hostilities. Use the power of your position to issue an ultimatum to stop fighting.

The foregoing ten different ways are effective to manage conflict productively.

To reiterate: since you can’t avoid conflict, the best way is to manage it, to attain a smooth interpersonal relationships, not only in the workplace, but also in the home, between family members, and other fields of human relationships.


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3 Comments

  1. Very good tips. I will adopt this whenever my staff are having conflicts. I manage a fast food business with 6 employees. Thanks for this article. Very helpful to me.

  2. Great tips there, Atty! Resolving the issues of your own employees only proves that you are one great Boss! :-)

  3. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

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