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How to Effectively Mediate a Conflict

A business that is full of conflict can’t be successful. Underlying animosity means that people don’t trust each other or work productively. Resolving conflicts quickly can be the difference between failure and success for your business. Each conflict is different, but the way to solve them is the same. First you need to set the scene for the negotiations to happen. There needs to be a sense of mutual respect and nice behavior for people to be able to open up to new ideas. You need to make sure the discussion is focused on the actual problem and isn’t focused on the individuals as people. Each person needs to feel like they are being listened to. Shutting down someone’s idea without first considering it will make them feel like they don’t have an ally and shut down. Rephrasing what people are saying is a good way to show you are listening and to understand better.

The next step is to gather information. The position a person is taking is often on the surface of some much deeper desire or need. You need to consider things from their point of view and be objective in order to do this. You shouldn’t try to resolve too many issues at once. Identify the issue and keep it concise. You need to show that you understand how the situation is affecting the parties involved. People will get defensive if they are met with sentences starting with “you” too often. To claim personal responsibility, try starting sentences with “I” instead. Clarify everyone’s feelings instead of assuming what they are.

Different people may see the problem differently, so it needs to be clearly identified. If the problem isn’t identified, then a solution is never going to be met. It is a very important step in conflict resolution to show that everyone knows what the problem is and everyone is essentially working towards the same end goal.

Getting everyone to feel like a part of the solution by having a brainstorming session may be a good idea. The beginning should just be including everyone in gathering as many ideas as possible. Don’t throw any ideas out during this stage. Don’t stop to evaluate any of them, just keep adding more. Stopping too long on one will kill the creativity of thinking of new ideas. You should make a list of every idea, and someone besides the person listing them should be in charge of editing them. You should gather as much input as you can get. Even if an idea is silly, it may spark the inspiration that triggers the real solution.

It is only time to negotiate when everyone has stated their position and understands the other positions. Ideas have been talked about and the problem is outlined, so a solution needs to be met.
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