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Five ways to handle conflict remotely

Written by Staff Writer

May 25, 2020

In a team, having a united voice is important but so is having different opinions and viewpoints. When working with others, conflicts are inevitable, and, according to the Harvard Business Review, the most common cause of conflict in the workplace is misunderstanding.

You should never ignore tension, whether its caused by misunderstanding, personality conflict, work values or even unhealthy competition, the key is to identify the cause and nip it in the bud.

Now that most companies are working from home, do not wait until being back at the office to start trying to get conflict resolution on track. By then the issue may have been blown out of all proportion. In this article we share five ways that might help to resolve professional conflict while working remotely.


Pinpoint the base of the conflict

Successful resolution of work related conflict depends on how soon you spot the source of the tension. However long it takes to unpack what the real cause is, it will be worth it. Have one-on-ones via skype, hangout or zoom with the staff members involved. Once you have a clear idea of all sides of the story, then have a group session so that everyone has a chance to be heard.


Stay neutral and set out the rules of engagement

It is important to remain neutral when listening to all points of view. Make sure at the start you set out the rules of engagement: no offensive language, same amount of time for each person to speak, no interrupting, respect for differing opinions.


Be like a magnifying glass

When mediating between employees, ensure the parties involved look closely at each other’s reasons and where they are coming from.


Stay online

A heated online discussion will only get worse if the manager suddenly logs off. Stay online while everyone’s hype is still up, being around will help to defuse the anger and limit harsh words spoken.


Activate active listening and move the conversation forward

Move the discussion from anger to resolution. Your team does not just want to express their frustrations, they also want to feel as if you understand their feelings and actions. Once everyone has been heard in a specific time frame, summing up what each party is saying, their points of view and moving from conflict to a point of mutual understanding is key to popping the blister.

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