What to do in case of conflict?
The realization that I am in a conflict sometimes comes creepingly, sometimes really out of the blue. It is the conflict signals that are gradually becoming clearer. As a party to the conflict, changes in behaviour “of the other side” are usually recognised more often than in oneself. One of the most important signals is for example: Talking about the person concerned instead of with her.
However, people from their own environment perceive them. At the latest when someone draws my attention to my own behaviour, there is a need for action. Looking away or waiting for the other side to do something worsens the situation.
- As soon as the awareness is there: “I am in a conflict”, I make an appointment with the other side, ideally personally, if this is not possible, with an appointment request.
- In the appointment request, the topic should be named as neutrally as possible, as well as the goal of the meeting. Our current collaboration situation and possible solutions.”
- The appointment should be made in such a way that there is enough time to go backwards and that both parties have the opportunity to prepare well.
- When the appointment takes place, it is essential to make sure that you choose a “neutral” introduction as far as possible and do not jump into the topic immediately. It has often proved helpful in such situations to thank the other side for appearing and then to outline the planned course of the conversation. This gives both sides the possibility of a small success if one comes to an agreement here.
- The next step is to describe to each other how each side experiences the problem (exchange views). It’s about listening to each other without interrupting. You can assume that the description of the other side is different from yours. She’s not doing it wrong or right. It is a matter of perceiving precisely these differences. As an inviter, you should ideally let the other side take the lead and try to listen.
- If both points of view are on the table, it usually quickly becomes clear where the differences and also the dissent lie. These points are discussed in detail and a solution is sought. It is important not only to address technical topics, but also behaviours and perceived insults or injuries.
- It is essential that you name the topics that went badly, possibly find out what caused it, express your anger about it (and not yell at the other person or reproach him) and get to the point relatively quickly, what changes you want and explain the background to it – your own need.
- If possible, all “faults” should be discussed before starting to develop solutions, both to the personal and to the professional questions. Above all, are you aware of what you need from the other side so that “the shame” is really erased and your need for satisfaction is satisfied (e.g. an apology, a written statement, etc.)?
- Finally, document your agreement and check it at regular intervals until both sides have the feeling that everything is running smoothly again.