I don’t know how many times I’ve been called into situations in organizations and corporations where conflicts have made the work environment toxic.
I particularly remember one large company where it had become unbearable. The employees including many middle managers were divided into clicks that would not communicate with each other. Bullying was an everyday occurrence. The turnover of staff was a challenge to productivity and results.
The HR Director told me that there had been numerous attempts to solve the situation. She had lost count of the number of consultants and experts who had attempted to make people communicate with each other and come to terms with the underlying issues to this infected work environment.
I love challenges! I also love starting at the right place!
It is so common when we are facing a conflict that we focus on the wrong thing. Namely, the conflict. That’s where we go wrong from the outset.
A conflict can be multifaceted, but there is always one ingredient that’s present in conflicts: PEOPLE!
The focus should not be the conflict. The focus has to be WHO is involved in the conflict?
We have to start by engaging with the people involved. That engagement is all about building alliances and trust.
Why is this so important?
Before we can start even talking about conflict and conciliation, we have to make sure that the people involved want to reconcile.
This willingness is a key for any conflict resolution tools to work. We can have all the tools and expertise in the world when it comes to working through a conflict. However, that is all worthless unless the will to move forward is there.
If we start working with conflict resolution before people are ready and willing, we will for sure make the situation worse.
I am yet to see a conflict that people have not solved when we guide them to the right starting point.
Solution focus is damaging unless people want solutions.
Have a brilliant day!