By Judy Kay Mausolf
Unless you live in some remote jungle or under a rock and only work with plants you will probably interact with lots of other people during your lifetime. The people I am talking about are not the strangers you make brief eye contact with for a second or pass in a hallway. I am referring to the people you consistently interact with on a daily basis. Your success depends greatly on these relationships! Life would also be much more enjoyable if conflict did not exist between you and them. But that isn’t real life!
The problem is that many of us go thru life trying to avoid dealing with conflict out of fear! We hope it will just go away! But the more we try to avoid it the more it builds until eventually it escalates to a point to where there is serious damage to the relationship.
Our fear of conflict is the problem, and it seems bigger the more we dwell on it. Here is the funny thing… fear is really only a negative prediction about the future and not reality. Whether or not we take action is governed by a simple ratio: our perception of danger versus our confidence in our ability to handle the conflict.
If we believe we can resolve the conflict, the amount of fear we feel is minimized and we will take action. This is why it is so important to teach our teams the mindsets and skill sets they need to give them confidence that they can handle conflict.
The first step is to start with our mindset about conflict! If we tear it apart; conflict is really just conversation where there is a disagreement because of a difference of opinion or expectation! So what is so scary about talking about a difference of opinion or expectation? We can eliminate the negative emotional energy from the conversation by coming from a place of care and concern instead of judgment and criticism.
Next step is the skill sets! The following 5 step process will give our team the skill sets they need to successfully resolve conflict. It will change the focus of the conflict conversation from who did what wrong to what we can do in the future!
Here are 5 easy steps to help your team resolve conflict!
- Set up time to meet with the person you have a concern or conflict (they may not have time right at the moment) and don’t tell anyone else!
- Be open and listen; don’t come to the table with the solution, you don’t know the why behind their reasons.
- Don’t personalize; instead of saying you did this, say I am not sure what you meant by…or can we talk about what happened today? Talk about the situation and not the person.
- Focus on the solution, what can be done to prevent in the future versus who did what wrong. It will not be perfect for anyone, but can be good for everyone.
- If you can’t resolve; all team members involved meet together with whoever handles conflict resolution and agree on a solution.
It is so important to teach our teams the mindsets and skill sets they need to give them confidence that they can handle conflict.
Ta-dah! Conflict resolved now onto more enjoyable relationships!
Judy Kay Mausolf owner and president of Practice Solutions Inc, is a dental practice management coach, speaker and author. She coaches dentists and managers who want to grow their practice by becoming better leaders, getting their teams to work together better, communicating more effectively and creating a practice environment they enjoy coming to! She is President of National Speakers Association Minnesota Chapter, member of the National Speakers Association, Academy of Dental Management Consultants, Speaking Consulting Network. She is author of Rise & Shine; An Evolutionary Journey to Get Out of Your Way and On Your Way to Success, and a contributing author for many dental magazines. She also publishes a monthly newsletter entitled “Show Your Shine”.