Five Best Ways to Resolve Office Conflict






Janie Day
Vice President,
Paragon Bank


“I have found that the best way to resolve conflicts in any situation is to ask one question: ‘What are you asking me (or a third party) to do?’ The person has to state his/her resolution to the issue and stop complaining. At this point, the answer back is either ‘Yes we can do that’ or ‘No we cannot do what you are asking,’ and why, or possibly ‘We will take your resolution under advisement and get back to you,’ and give a date. This solution always ends the
conflict in a short period of time.”


Kat Gordon
Owner,
Muddy’s Bakeshop


“We try to approach conflicts as learning opportunities. The best learning happens when minds are open and attitudes are calm, so for internal conflicts we’re not afraid to take a little time for everyone to cool off and reflect. At that point, individuals are more open to hearing another point of view and looking at the issue more objectively. When dealing with a customer, however, time is often a luxury. By rehearsing scenarios during training, staffers are better equipped to handle conflicts on the fly and to remember to consider how they would like the issue resolved if they were the customer.”


Emily Greer
Chief of Staff,
ALSAC/St. Jude


“As fund-raisers, we are in the business of ‘friend-raising,’ and we do that very well. The core of our business requires that we are able to address conflict quickly and efficiently. We try to take a collaborative approach to any situations that arise and encourage open and honest communication between all parties involved. By bringing everyone to the table, we find it’s a more effective way to arrive at better solutions so that we can get back to our main objective: supporting the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children.”


Cynthia Saatkamp
Partner,
Hemline Creative
Marketing, LLC


“Our office is an open, loft-style studio space, so there is no avoiding issues or obstacles if they arise. In fact, it encourages everyone to voice his or her opinions, fears, and concerns early on before a conflict can escalate. When a major challenge presents itself, however, we use the ‘lunch-table method.’ My partner and I discuss offsite first to come up with solutions, and then we bring in lunch and present options to the employees as a group. This prevents single-sided or top-down problem solving and encourages collaboration and buy-in.”


Allen Wilkerson
EMT-Paramedic Director, Eagle Medical Service, LLC


“As a company owner, it’s your job to care about your coworkers as a part of your company. Your employees are one of your most important assets. They represent the image that your customer sees. Keeping this in mind, I try to look at the issue from all sides, realizing that everyone thinks they are right. Secondly, never make a knee-jerk decision. Make your decision on the facts presented. Finally, follow up with coworkers to explain the decision and to evaluate the results. If they prove to be understanding, their performance increases.”    
 

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