How do you resolve conflict?

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How do you resolve conflict?  Are you an avoider, an agitator or one that acquiesces? Academics consider conflict as the “The process resulting from tension between team members impacting performance.” There are two types of conflict.  Conflict that is non-personal or task and conflict that is personal or relational.

Task conflict is outside of yourself and in business is usually centered around a process, a strategy, a methodology or sometimes a set of values.  Typically, when task conflict occurs members of teams engage in resolving the conflict in a more productive manner than when it occurs in a relationship.  Task conflict can increase revenue and profit when resolved.  It can take a long time or a short amount of time and as it pertains to people, well they improve because hopefully they learn something about business in the midst of task conflict.

Relational conflict occurs for many reasons.  It could be a values difference.  It could be a personality difference. It could be because of poor performance.  It could be because of lack of trust.  If relational conflict is not addressed quickly you loose lots of money.  In fact, managers spend about 20% of their time handling conflict. (AMA) If not addressed quickly, time is lost because you become stressed.  The worst case scenario is turnover.

What will you do about relationship conflict?  Consider some tips from mathematics.  You remember the word “inverse?” Basically, it means do the opposite of what you would naturally do if you experienced conflict.  For example: Let’s say you offended your boss and he/she is now withdrawing from you.  You do the opposite, move toward.  The inverse of away is toward.  Similarly, if someone comes at you emotionally, you do the opposite, stay calm. (Works for your teenager too…)

After the initial outburst or response, frame your conversation and address the issue.  Put the issue out on the table and make it about the issue not the person.  Do it sooner than later because you are losing money and sleep.