How To Coach Employees on Handling Workplace Conflict

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Disagreement can be uncomfortable. Conflict is difficult for many people, whether it be personal or workplace conflict. It takes people out of their comfort zone, challenges their skills, and creates worry and anxiety for many, however, when unaddressed, these same results can occur. So, why not just deal with it?  It's a natural part of relationships, including those in the workplace. 

Often times people are resistant and reluctant to have those conversations that matter most and are mostly avoided, I call those the Courageous Dialogues. Fear, past experience, potential repercussions (to name a few) all shape how one responds or reacts. Sometimes a coaching conversation is needed to help prepare people for these conversations. I address that here on this video.

One of the difficulties that happens for leaders is determining what is a conflict, and what is a performance issue. They are two different conversations. On this video I talk about some quick tips to discern conflict from performance conversations.

Here are a few tips to assist you in coaching conversations about conflict:

1) Listen attentively- this means avoiding assumptions and judgments. Listening actively and carefully also requires that we listen to what is and is not being said - you are listening to learn instead of listening to reply/respond.

2) Respond with care - ask questions (who, what, where, when, why and how) to get a deeper and clearer understanding of the situation and the facts as the other person sees it (remember there is always several truths to a situation- your truth, their truth, and what really happened). When you are actively listening this is much easier to do.

3) Collaborate to Solve- avoid the tendency to propose your solutions or expectations here. This is a great time for collaboration to explore a solution together or re-set expectations or agree on actions for growth and change.

Before closing these conversations, it is most important to outline what happens next, this helps you avoid follow up failure. This will help keep the relationship (and trust) intact, open the lines of dialogue if something goes sideways, and, sets the tone and expectation that courageous dialogue can bring about beneficial outcomes.

To learn more or have me speak at your next event or training, visit my website and subscribe to my You Tube Videos to keep receiving helpful tips on communication, collaboration, conflict resolution and resilience.


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