3 Tips for Collaboration to Resolve Conflict

Sam recently facilitated a team meeting to discuss implementing a new LEAN initiative.  The team discusses the potential benefits and pitfalls of the change.  There is a lively conversation by 4 of the 6 team members.  The other 2 team members sit quietly with their arms folded and listen to the discussion.  The team agrees on an implementation plan and leaves excited to launch the new process.  The 2 quiet team members are overheard stating “this is a stupid process, it will never work” as they leave.

Sam can use a Collaborative approach to resolve the conflict on his team.  A Collaborative approach involves the following 3 steps:

  1. Look for a way to satisfy both your concern and the other person’s concern.
  2. Collaborate or resolve the problem by valuing both your goals and the relationship
  3. View the conflict as a problem to be solved by brainstorming solutions which are agreeable to everyone involved
    • Look for new alternative solutions
    • Offer suggestions to continue the problem solving conversation, “How does this sound…”

Sam called a meeting with the 2 quiet employees that afternoon.  He summarized his perspective from the meeting, which was they were quiet and seemed to have unvoiced concerns about the change.  Sam asked them to share their concerns about the new process with him.  Sam listened intently with a desire to understand and asked clarifying questions.  Once he had heard their concerns, they brainstormed solutions that addressed their concerns and strengthened the new process.  They left the meeting receptive to implementing the new process and Sam shared their brainstorming ideas with other departments who were also implementing the change.

The Collaborative approach to conflict resolution allows people to feel respected and heard.  It provides additional information and insight into a change or problem and typically results in an enhanced solution with the relationships intact.  What other examples do you have for Collaborative Conflict Resolution?

1 Comment

  1. Amy,
    Good stuff and thought provoking.

    If 2 were obviously quiet during the meeting, I’d likely have addressed during the meeting: “You were included because your knowledge is important, but you haven’t added much and your body language suggests you have different views. Your input is important in making this successful. Give us your thoughts”.

    If I’d tried to engage them during the meeting and they didn’t engage, but shared negative opinions after, I expect I would still meet with them. However, I probably would lay out clearer expectations that the time to share was during the meeting and collecting their thoughts after the meetings wouldn’t be our team intent going forward.


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