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Management 103 - Conflict Resolution

No we all can not get along and agree to everything. There will be times that we have to agree to disagree with one another.  It's normal.  It's life.  But just how do you handle conflict when it arises?  The reaction can be more detrimental than the result if not addressed properly. 

- Adjust tone and body language. A gentle kind word is all it takes to bring down the anger and remove the emotions from the conversation. Be attentive and listen to what is being negated or described. Lose the frustrated look and gestures. Instead start with one-on-one eye contact and hands clasped in front.
- Do not let it fester.  Strike a balance in timing a response. Do not act immediately because emotions tend to get involved. However, do not let it hang around unaddressed for over a week because it might cause other issues.
- Find a common ground. Compromise may be key when dealing with contentious individuals because they usually do not believe they are wrong.  Calming the storm and getting to a quick resolution is more important than being right. 
- Present facts not hearsay. Leave people and their opinions out of the conversation. Obtain numbers, dates, emails, and documents and present facts.  This removes opinions and allows both parties to agree or disagree about the evidence and come to a resolution or  truce. 
- Resist bringing an army. It takes a lot of power to not bring backup to the fight, but use it and risk fighting a bigger battle with a lot more opponents. The smaller the group involved, the lesser the number of opinions and the greatest chance evolves to settle on a solution. 
- Ask for help. Do not be afraid to escalate or ask for assistance if you cannot resolve the problem. It does not mean you are weak.  After all, it can be a political battle that just should not be fought by you without management involvement. If there is someone more skilled at handling this problem, consult and take notes. If necessary, ask him to help and drive th conversation to resolve the conflict. 
You are not the only one that must handle conflict but you are the only one that knows how well you can handle it when it arises. Running away does not resolve it;  it shows a trait that neither your subordinates or your management will consider reliable or desirable.

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