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Conflict Resolution at Work for Dummies®

Book Description

A practical workplace guide to handling conflict effectively

Managing employees and encouraging them to work together toward a common goal is an essential skill that all leaders should possess. Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies provides the tools and advice you need to restore peace, train your colleagues to get along better with others, prevent conflicts from ever starting, and maintain better productivity while boosting morale.

  • One of the only trade publications that takes the manager's perspective on how to address conflicts, resolve disputes, and restore peace and productivity to the workplace

  • Examines more positive means for resolving conflicts (other than arguing, surrendering, running away, filing a lawsuit, etc.)

  • Helps managers and employees sort through problems and make the workplace a more rewarding place

No manager should be without Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Author's Acknowledgments
  4. Publisher's Acknowledgments
  5. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Conventions Used in This Book
    3. What You're Not to Read
    4. Foolish Assumptions
    5. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I: Understanding Conflict in the Workplace
      2. Part II: Resolving a Conflict between Two or More of Your Employees
      3. Part III: Using Additional Resources to Resolve the Conflict
      4. Part IV: Smoothly Handling Conflict When You're One of the People Involved
      5. Part V: The Part of Tens
    6. Icons Used in This Book
    7. Where to Go from Here
  6. I. Understanding Conflict in the Workplace
    1. 1. An Overview of Conflict Resolution at Work
      1. 1.1. Considering Common Contributors to Conflict
        1. 1.1.1. Acknowledging differing perspectives
        2. 1.1.2. Recognizing emotions in others
        3. 1.1.3. Handling communication mishaps
        4. 1.1.4. Deciphering group dynamics
        5. 1.1.5. Assessing your own role
      2. 1.2. Mediating like a Pro
        1. 1.2.1. Following eight steps to a resolution
        2. 1.2.2. Facilitating a conversation between two people
        3. 1.2.3. Managing conflict with a team
      3. 1.3. Tapping into Conflict Resolution Expertise
        1. 1.3.1. Internal resources
        2. 1.3.2. External resources
      4. 1.4. Dealing with a Direct Conflict
        1. 1.4.1. Finding solutions that work for both of you
        2. 1.4.2. Creating a different future
    2. 2. Understanding What People Bring to Conflict
      1. 2.1. Rediscovering Communication
        1. 2.1.1. Changing the goal of communication
        2. 2.1.2. Choosing words carefully: The importance of language
          1. 2.1.2.1. Making sure you're on the same page
          2. 2.1.2.2. Being precise
          3. 2.1.2.3. Avoiding inflammatory language
        3. 2.1.3. Body language: Reading others' and managing your own
        4. 2.1.4. Discerning tone of voice
      2. 2.2. Figuring Out Why People Think the Way They Do
        1. 2.2.1. Values: Understanding what's important to people
        2. 2.2.2. Filters: Sifting through information
        3. 2.2.3. History: Operating from the past
      3. 2.3. Considering the Importance of Emotions
        1. 2.3.1. Listening to what emotions tell you
        2. 2.3.2. Dealing with emotional intensity and impact
        3. 2.3.3. Acknowledging and processing difficult emotions on your team
      4. 2.4. Responding to Conflict
        1. 2.4.1. Giving in
        2. 2.4.2. Avoiding the fight
        3. 2.4.3. Fighting it out
        4. 2.4.4. Compromising
        5. 2.4.5. Working together
    3. 3. Determining How Groups Contribute to Conflict
      1. 3.1. Observing Your Organization's Culture
        1. 3.1.1. Identifying the organizational focus
        2. 3.1.2. Considering hiring or promoting practices
        3. 3.1.3. Considering how your company adapts to change
      2. 3.2. Recognizing Team Dynamics
        1. 3.2.1. Dealing with mismatched expectations
        2. 3.2.2. Acknowledging assigned and assumed roles
        3. 3.2.3. Redefining power
          1. 3.2.3.1. Too much power
          2. 3.2.3.2. Too little power
      3. 3.3. Groups Behaving Badly
        1. 3.3.1. Joining cliques
          1. 3.3.1.1. Focusing on the positive
          2. 3.3.1.2. Understanding the negative
          3. 3.3.1.3. Handling cliques
        2. 3.3.2. Finding allies
        3. 3.3.3. Creating inaccurate assumptions
        4. 3.3.4. Making assumptions in the first place
          1. 3.3.4.1. Coming to selective conclusions
          2. 3.3.4.2. Asking rather than assuming
        5. 3.3.5. Perpetuating gossip
    4. 4. Practicing Self-Awa reness: Understanding How Managers Foster Conflict
      1. 4.1. Micromanaging
        1. 4.1.1. Stirring the Pot
        2. 4.1.2. Dividing rather than uniting
        3. 4.1.3. Appearing to take sides
      2. 4.2. Not Taking the Time to Gain Understanding
        1. 4.2.1. Overreacting
        2. 4.2.2. Misunderstanding the real issues
        3. 4.2.3. Looking the other way
        4. 4.2.4. Being dismissive
      3. 4.3. Talking about the Work Ineffectively
        1. 4.3.1. Not sharing your contributions
        2. 4.3.2. Underrepresenting your team
      4. 4.4. Creating Ill-Defined Expectations and Responsibilities
      5. 4.5. Hiring the Right Person for the Wrong Job
      6. 4.6. Living in Fix-It Mode
        1. 4.6.1. Talking instead of listening
        2. 4.6.2. Being judge and jury
        3. 4.6.3. Rescuing instead of coaching
      7. 4.7. Denying Shortfalls
        1. 4.7.1. Letting egos get in the way
        2. 4.7.2. Lacking training or skills
        3. 4.7.3. Being uncomfortable with change
    5. 5. Knowing When to Address Conflict
      1. 5.1. Assessing the Cost and Severity of the Conflict
        1. 5.1.1. Hard costs associated with unresolved conflict
        2. 5.1.2. Soft costs associated with unresolved conflict
        3. 5.1.3. Determining severity
      2. 5.2. Approaching Employees and Gathering Information
        1. 5.2.1. Knowing your intent
        2. 5.2.2. Sorting out the players
        3. 5.2.3. Considering the meeting place
        4. 5.2.4. Being consistent in your inquiries
        5. 5.2.5. Asking questions
      3. 5.3. Evaluating the Details of the Conflict
        1. 5.3.1. What you know
        2. 5.3.2. Follow-up conversations
      4. 5.4. Empowering Employees to Handle the Issue Themselves
        1. 5.4.1. Providing tips for success
        2. 5.4.2. Motivating your employees to succeed
        3. 5.4.3. Wrapping it up
        4. 5.4.4. Watching their progress
          1. 5.4.4.1. Complimenting their progress
          2. 5.4.4.2. Knowing what to watch for
          3. 5.4.4.3. Responding to progress
  7. II. Resolving a Conflict between Two or More of Your Employees
    1. 6. Developing a Plan and Preparing for a Meeting
      1. 6.1. Preparing the Parties for a Conversation
        1. 6.1.1. Inviting your employees to the meeting
          1. 6.1.1.1. Issuing personal invitations
          2. 6.1.1.2. Sending written invitations
        2. 6.1.2. Explaining your role
        3. 6.1.3. Helping employees get into the right frame of mind
        4. 6.1.4. Assuring confidentiality
        5. 6.1.5. Defining meeting parameters
        6. 6.1.6. Giving pre-work/homework instructions
      2. 6.2. Setting Up the Meeting
        1. 6.2.1. Choosing a neutral location
        2. 6.2.2. Allowing enough time
        3. 6.2.3. Facilitating a comfortable environment
        4. 6.2.4. Preparing yourself
    2. 7. Starting a Mediation Meeting and Creating a Working Agenda
      1. 7.1. Facilitating Effectively
        1. 7.1.1. Establishing rapport and making the employees comfortable
        2. 7.1.2. Showing your neutrality
        3. 7.1.3. Actively listening
        4. 7.1.4. Saving your questions for later
      2. 7.2. Reviewing the Ground Rules for the Discussion
        1. 7.2.1. Explaining roles and responsibilities
        2. 7.2.2. Directing the flow of information
        3. 7.2.3. Stressing uninterrupted time
      3. 7.3. Giving the Participants a Chance to Present Their Perspectives
        1. 7.3.1. Deciding who speaks first
        2. 7.3.2. Listening to the second participant
      4. 7.4. Summarizing and Reflecting Back What You Hear
        1. 7.4.1. Reflecting emotions
        2. 7.4.2. Reframing statements
        3. 7.4.3. Neutralizing the perspectives
      5. 7.5. Creating an Agenda
        1. 7.5.1. Transitioning from the past to the future
        2. 7.5.2. Demonstrating accessibility and ownership
        3. 7.5.3. Separating their topics
        4. 7.5.4. Labeling and defining issues
        5. 7.5.5. Considering common agenda topics
        6. 7.5.6. Using the agenda for negotiations
    3. 8. Negotiating Possible Solutions to a Conflict
      1. 8.1. Encouraging Communication
        1. 8.1.1. Transitioning from past to future
        2. 8.1.2. Motivating and encouraging your employees
        3. 8.1.3. Listening and interjecting
          1. 8.1.3.1. Ask questions
          2. 8.1.3.2. Clarify and summarize
          3. 8.1.3.3. Capture proposals
      2. 8.2. Focusing on Values Rather Than Issues
        1. 8.2.1. Discovering what's really important
        2. 8.2.2. Reading between the lines to find values
      3. 8.3. Fostering Brainstorming
        1. 8.3.1. Defining brainstorming ground rules
        2. 8.3.2. Narrowing the possible solutions
      4. 8.4. Asking Great Questions
        1. 8.4.1. Knowing which questions to use when
          1. 8.4.1.1. Closed-ended questions
          2. 8.4.1.2. Open-ended questions
        2. 8.4.2. Sequencing your questions
        3. 8.4.3. Avoiding unproductive questions
          1. 8.4.3.1. Leading questions
          2. 8.4.3.2. Assumptive questions
          3. 8.4.3.3. Why questions
      5. 8.5. Working through Resistance
        1. 8.5.1. Identifying common causes of resistance
        2. 8.5.2. Exploring the impasse
        3. 8.5.3. Creating options
        4. 8.5.4. Testing the margins
        5. 8.5.5. Refocusing on values
        6. 8.5.6. Interrupting negative behaviors
        7. 8.5.7. Trying one last time to overcome resistance
      6. 8.6. Meeting Privately with Each Individual
        1. 8.6.1. Choosing who goes first
        2. 8.6.2. Allowing parties to open up with added confidentiality
        3. 8.6.3. Venting and exploring
        4. 8.6.4. Preparing an employee to return to the open session
    4. 9. Offering Proposals and Crafting Agreements
      1. 9.1. Continuing Negotiations
      2. 9.2. Proceeding with the meeting
        1. 9.2.1. Listening for the good stuff
          1. 9.2.1.1. New information
          2. 9.2.1.2. Acknowledgments
          3. 9.2.1.3. Changes in perspective or tone
          4. 9.2.1.4. Apologies
          5. 9.2.1.5. Proposals
      3. 9.3. Developing Solutions and Agreements during Open Session
        1. 9.3.1. Recognizing the nonnegotiable elements of a good settlement
          1. 9.3.1.1. Doable
          2. 9.3.1.2. Specific
          3. 9.3.1.3. Durable
          4. 9.3.1.4. Balanced
          5. 9.3.1.5. Complete
          6. 9.3.1.6. Satisfying
        2. 9.3.2. Troubleshooting problem areas
          1. 9.3.2.1. Vague language
          2. 9.3.2.2. Settlement by attrition
          3. 9.3.2.3. Fatigue
          4. 9.3.2.4. Uncooperative behavior
          5. 9.3.2.5. Incomplete contingency plans
        3. 9.3.3. Writing it down
      4. 9.4. Concluding the Meeting and Helping Everyone Leave with Optimism
        1. 9.4.1. Settlement
        2. 9.4.2. Interim agreements
        3. 9.4.3. No settlement
    5. 10. Adapting a Conflict Meeting for the Entire Team
      1. 10.1. Acting as Facilitator
      2. 10.2. Gathering Information from the Group
        1. 10.2.1. Recognizing what you know
        2. 10.2.2. Crafting questions to find out more
        3. 10.2.3. Using interviews and surveys
          1. 10.2.3.1. Interviews
          2. 10.2.3.2. Surveys
        4. 10.2.4. Creating a timeline
      3. 10.3. Assessing the Intensity of a Conflict
      4. 10.4. Formulating a Meeting Plan
        1. 10.4.1. Determining the goal of your meeting
        2. 10.4.2. Creating an agenda
        3. 10.4.3. Proposing ground rules
        4. 10.4.4. Considering breakout groups
      5. 10.5. Kicking Off the Group Meeting
        1. 10.5.1. Setting the tone
        2. 10.5.2. Presenting the agenda and finalizing the ground rules
        3. 10.5.3. Hearing from the participants
        4. 10.5.4. Using intervention strategies
        5. 10.5.5. Breaking into small groups
          1. 10.5.5.1. Creating specific assignments
          2. 10.5.5.2. Keeping groups on task
        6. 10.5.6. Coming back to the larger group
      6. 10.6. Devising a Team Plan for Follow-up
        1. 10.6.1. Assigning next steps
        2. 10.6.2. Creating benchmarks
    6. 11. Monitoring Agreements and Progress
      1. 11.1. Keeping an Eye on the Environment
        1. 11.1.1. Looking for decreased tension
        2. 11.1.2. Watching for positive changes in working relationships
      2. 11.2. Tuning In to Changes in Communication
        1. 11.2.1. Paying attention to content
        2. 11.2.2. Distinguishing tone of voice
        3. 11.2.3. Observing body language
        4. 11.2.4. Watching reactions to difficult conversations
        5. 11.2.5. Monitoring gossip levels
      3. 11.3. Looking for Examples of Personal Responsibility
        1. 11.3.1. Keeping agreements
        2. 11.3.2. Showing an increased willingness to handle new problems
      4. 11.4. Stepping In to Coach and Encourage
        1. 11.4.1. Coaching employees after mediation
        2. 11.4.2. Knowing when you're needed
      5. 11.5. Leading Productive Follow-Up Meetings
        1. 11.5.1. Setting up the meeting
        2. 11.5.2. Holding the meeting
  8. III. Using Additional Resources to Resolve the Conflict
    1. 12. Keeping a Team Focused During a Conflict
      1. 12.1. Addressing Safety or Legal Issues
      2. 12.2. Limiting Chatter
        1. 12.2.1. Being upfront and consistent
        2. 12.2.2. Finding the time and place to address conflict
        3. 12.2.3. Limiting closed-door meetings
        4. 12.2.4. Creating ways to voice concern
        5. 12.2.5. Sticking to Business as Usual
        6. 12.2.6. Motivating your employees
        7. 12.2.7. Keeping your team members focused on what they can control
        8. 12.2.8. Having regular work meetings
        9. 12.2.9. Building a Reputation as a Leader
        10. 12.2.10. Encouraging Team Building
        11. 12.2.11. Highlighting common interests and creating positive shared experiences
        12. 12.2.12. Lightening the mood
    2. 13. Determining How Your Company Can Help
      1. 13.1. Working with Human Resources
        1. 13.1.1. Partnering with you to tailor your approach
        2. 13.1.2. Letting you know when action is required
        3. 13.1.3. Providing training resources
        4. 13.1.4. Accessing employees' work histories
        5. 13.1.5. Identifying employee assistance program options
      2. 13.2. Investigating Neutral Dispute Resolution Services
        1. 13.2.1. Mediation program
        2. 13.2.2. Shared neutrals program
        3. 13.2.3. Ombudsman
      3. 13.3. Tapping into Unions
      4. 13.4. Proactively Designing a Conflict Resolution Plan
        1. 13.4.1. What you can do
          1. 13.4.1.1. Offering training
          2. 13.4.1.2. Cultivating inside mediators
          3. 13.4.1.3. Providing outside mediators and facilitators
          4. 13.4.1.4. Giving employees multiple ways to access resources
          5. 13.4.1.5. Always leaving the door open
        2. 13.4.2. What your company can do
          1. 13.4.2.1. Expanding the role of HR
          2. 13.4.2.2. Creating a peer review panel
          3. 13.4.2.3. Developing additional agreements with the union
          4. 13.4.2.4. Revising the employee handbook
        3. 13.4.3. Choosing a starting point
    3. 14. Getting Outside Experts to Facilitate Resolutions
      1. 14.1. Why Managers Do or Don't Call in Help
        1. 14.1.1. Common reasons for delay
        2. 14.1.2. Common reasons experts are called
      2. 14.2. Considering the Menu of Professional Services
        1. 14.2.1. Training
        2. 14.2.2. Conflict coaching
        3. 14.2.3. Mediation
          1. 14.2.3.1. Styles of mediation
          2. 14.2.3.2. Variations on mediation structure
        4. 14.2.4. Group facilitation
      3. 14.3. Going to Arbitration
      4. 14.4. Hiring an Expert and Knowing What to Expect
        1. 14.4.1. Starting with referrals
        2. 14.4.2. Determining qualifications
        3. 14.4.3. Contracting with a professional
        4. 14.4.4. Understanding the process for intake and gathering information
          1. 14.4.4.1. The intake process with you
          2. 14.4.4.2. The intake process with employees
  9. IV. Smoothly Handling Conflict When You're One of the People Involved
    1. 15. Identifying What Both Sides Want
      1. 15.1. Asking Yourself What You Really Want
        1. 15.1.1. Figuring out your core values
        2. 15.1.2. Identifying your hot buttons
        3. 15.1.3. Considering your ability to listen
        4. 15.1.4. Doing your best to be humble
        5. 15.1.5. Asking for help
        6. 15.1.6. Recognizing your strengths
      2. 15.2. Thinking about What the Other Person Wants
        1. 15.2.1. Identifying what you know
        2. 15.2.2. Putting the drama aside
        3. 15.2.3. Considering what you don't know
      3. 15.3. Taking a Look at Both Sides
        1. 15.3.1. Issues
        2. 15.3.2. Values
        3. 15.3.3. Hot buttons
        4. 15.3.4. Strengths
        5. 15.3.5. Common ground
        6. 15.3.6. Proposals
    2. 16. Asking for a Meeting to Talk about the Conflict
      1. 16.1. Considering the Best Way to Approach the Other Person
        1. 16.1.1. Remembering that timing and location are everything
        2. 16.1.2. Choosing your words wisely
        3. 16.1.3. Selecting the best mode of communication
          1. 16.1.3.1. In person
          2. 16.1.3.2. On the phone
          3. 16.1.3.3. In writing
      2. 16.2. Preparing for Resistance
        1. 16.2.1. Responding to push-back tactics
        2. 16.2.2. Getting past denial
        3. 16.2.3. Addressing avoidance
        4. 16.2.4. Finding hope in hopelessness
      3. 16.3. Setting a Time and a Place for a Productive Discussion
        1. 16.3.1. Time considerations
        2. 16.3.2. Geography matters
    3. 17. Sitting Down to Talk Through the Issues
      1. 17.1. Preparing to Mediate Your Own Conflict
        1. 17.1.1. Recognizing your dual role
        2. 17.1.2. Adapting a mediation process for a one-on-one meeting
      2. 17.2. Getting the One-on-One Started
        1. 17.2.1. Putting together a natural-sounding opening statement
        2. 17.2.2. Acknowledging the current challenge
        3. 17.2.3. Explaining the steps the meeting will follow
        4. 17.2.4. Committing to a productive meeting
      3. 17.3. Sharing Perspectives
        1. 17.3.1. Deciding who will begin
        2. 17.3.2. Listening actively
        3. 17.3.3. Summarizing what you've heard
        4. 17.3.4. Speaking to be understood
          1. 17.3.4.1. Describe the incident and then the impact
          2. 17.3.4.2. Use "I-Messages"
          3. 17.3.4.3. Be brief and clear
        5. 17.3.5. Reaching across the divide when it feels as big as the Grand Canyon
      4. 17.4. Creating an Agenda
      5. 17.5. Looking for Win/Win Solutions
        1. 17.5.1. Proposing positive alternatives
        2. 17.5.2. Keeping the conversation on track
        3. 17.5.3. Making decisions
      6. 17.6. Concluding the Discussion
        1. 17.6.1. Capturing the intent
        2. 17.6.2. Fine-tuning the details
        3. 17.6.3. Ending without agreements
    4. 18. Tailoring Your Approach to the Organizational Chart
      1. 18.1. Resolving Issues with Someone You Supervise
        1. 18.1.1. Creating a dialogue
        2. 18.1.2. What the conflicts are usually about
        3. 18.1.3. Proactively adapting your approach
        4. 18.1.4. Creating a positive environment
        5. 18.1.5. Keeping your power in check
        6. 18.1.6. Considering nerves
      2. 18.2. Addressing Conflict with a Peer
        1. 18.2.1. Respecting a peer's position
        2. 18.2.2. Being sensitive to location
        3. 18.2.3. Preserving the working relationship
      3. 18.3. Having One-on-One Conversations with Your Boss
        1. 18.3.1. Weighing the pros and cons of asking for a meeting
          1. 18.3.1.1. When it may be a good idea to meet
          2. 18.3.1.2. When you should consider holding off
        2. 18.3.2. Redefining your concept of power
        3. 18.3.3. Making the most of your time
  10. V. The Part of Tens
    1. 19. Ten Things You Can Control When You're in an Unresolved Conflict
      1. 19.1. Your Plan for the Future
      2. 19.2. Your Perspective
      3. 19.3. Your Responses
      4. 19.4. Your Investment
      5. 19.5. Your Role in the Conflict
      6. 19.6. Your Expectations
      7. 19.7. Your Energy
      8. 19.8. Your Own Story
      9. 19.9. Your Method for Processing
      10. 19.10. Your Character
    2. 20. Ten Reasons Managers Give for Not Addressing Conflict
      1. 20.1. I Don't Really Know How
      2. 20.2. I Don't Want to Open a Can of Worms
      3. 20.3. I Haven't Been Successful Before
      4. 20.4. Problem? What Problem?
      5. 20.5. I Don't Know Where to Start
      6. 20.6. It's Not My Business
      7. 20.7. I'm Not a Babysitter
      8. 20.8. I Have Real Work to Do
      9. 20.9. I Don't Want to Have to Fire Anyone
      10. 20.10. I Don't Want to Look Bad
    3. 21. Ten Pearls of Wisdom from Professional Mediators
      1. 21.1. Value the Process as Much as the Outcome
      2. 21.2. Accept That Her Truth Is Her Reality
      3. 21.3. Rapport Matters
      4. 21.4. Be Present and Available
      5. 21.5. Find Common Ground for More Success
      6. 21.6. Be Aware That This Isn't the Participants' Best Moment
      7. 21.7. Silence Is Golden
      8. 21.8. Be Curious
      9. 21.9. Fear Rules the World
      10. 21.10. Look to the Future