Keele University Magazine Article on Conflict Management
I studied English and Psychology at Keele University and am now part of the alumni group. I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to the 'Forever Keele' magazine to write about conflict management. It was great to be sharing my ideas!
By coincidence, I had an interesting coaching session with a client last week, who had been 'told' by HR to go and talk to a colleague who had spoken to my client in a critical and aggressive way and 'sort it out'. It was, understandably, very daunting for my client to even consider doing this! I think the very natural reaction is to brush this unpleasant upsetting situation under the carpet.
When I coach clients who are finding it challenging to know how to approach these sorts of situations, it can take a couple of hours to prepare for this meeting. It's this work that pays dividends in the future. There is so much risk involved if it doesn't go well and the tensions and emotion on both sides can be running very high. However, once you have a plan it is likely to cause the apprehension and stress to melt away.
In terms of preparation, we:
- pinpointed exactly what the outcomes for the meeting are from the point of view of my client
- looked at where and when to hold the conversation
- discussed privacy issues
- clarified how to present the clients thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way
- thought about how to respond if the person on the receiving end got angry or, conversely, shut down
- how to create an energy flow which gives the best chance of positive dialogue
- and how to handle the relationship going forward.
If you are working with a colleague where your relationship has deteriorated then it's a must to work at it, to stop it from festering and becoming a more permanent rift in the future. Just like any other relationship, it's important to get things back on an even keel.
In summary avoid thinking of it as a 'confrontation' or having to 'sort it out'
but more like a 'clear conversation'.
My article below also provides some tips to manage workplace conflict.
Do take a look!