Conflict is a dreaded word in any workplace. Yet, there is no organization that exists without conflict. Though conflicts have negative connotation, but if handled well conflicts can result in personal growth and effective inter-personal relationships. Therefore, conflict resolution is considered by many as a key leadership skill. Still many managers are at a loss when faced with a conflict.
Communication skills play a key role in conflict resolution. Most conflicts arise out of miscommunication, poor articulation or misinterpretation of a message. However, communication is also the strongest tool at hand for conflict resolution.
Effective communication helps in avoiding conflict and also resolving them, once they have arisen.
So let us look at some ways of using communication as a tool for conflict resolution.
- Be clear and concise in your message. Beating around the bush or talking about unrelated issues will sometimes escalate a conflict or not result in a resolution. Be direct and to the point while resolving conflicts. Articulate your message clearly so that there is no scope for miscommunication.
- Communicating courteously is imperative during conflict resolution. Conflicts may escalate if others perceive your communication as being rude or discourteous. Using words and phrases like “please”, “thank you” and “I apologize” can go a long way in ensuring a courteous conflict resolution. We realize that many times conflicts may arise due to discourteous communication to begin with.
- Back your stance with solid logic and concrete data. If your point of view is based on logical argument, it will be easy for the other person to come around to your idea.
- Be empathetic. Conflicts can be resolved if you are empathetic to the other person and understand their point of view. Remember that conflict resolution is not about getting your opinion heard, it is about giving way to the best idea. Using phrases like “I understand” show that you are empathetic to the other person.
- Use positive body language. Maintain eye contact, maintain a friendly and non-threatening posture and voice. Your body language and verbal communication both should emanate positivity and convey the same message.
The BizComm Model of Strengthscape encompasses many strategies for effective communication in various scenarios.