By attending training in conflict resolution, a person will gain in-depth knowledge of conflict management and conflict analysis, leading to creative problem-solving and better relationships for everyone involved. Conflict will often find its way into everyday life. From family to workplace conflict, many areas of life may benefit from conflict management skills and conflict resolution training.
Workplace conflict can often significantly impact the productivity of two or more parties and can derail organizational behavior and harm clients. This article will examine what conflict resolution training is, how it can benefit workplace conflicts, and how it can be used effectively to resolve disputes and impact workplaces for the better.
Defining Conflict Resolution Training
Conflict resolution training is an in-depth look at conflict and how it can be resolved. These courses can range from a day-long course on the topic to a master’s degree in dispute resolution. The most common form of conflict resolution training is a certificate program where participants learn how to create effective communication and steer parties toward resolving conflict. Courses may be offered in person or in an online format and are often tied with an organization that provides the certificate.
Training will help participants learn the best course of action for conflict resolution, and this education and the research accompanying it can create effective problem solvers and contribute to the professional development of the participants. The skills and tools the participants learn help them identify the issue and respond effectively.
Understanding Workplace Conflicts
The key to managing workplace conflict is to develop a deep understanding of why and how workplace conflict exists. Workplace conflict is a dispute or disagreement that happens between employees or between employees and managers. Most workplace conflict is the result of a disagreement of interests or a misunderstanding of intent or the structure of the community.
Managers dealing with workplace conflict understand that there are a variety of factors that contribute to conflict. Students in workplace conflict resolution training will likely explore why conflict arises while following courses on conflict resolution.
A common issue for those practicing workplace conflict resolution is conflict arising from unmet expectations. This is most frequently between management and employees. When co-workers cannot understand what is expected of them, there will likely be conflict over the results.
Working Style Conflict
Another common area that conflict resolution may focus on is conflicts with working style. Some teams may like to have a lot of research and time to review before diving into a project, while other teams or co-workers may live to dive right into problem-solving with little organization. This can lead to disputes about products and timelines for each group.
There are often disputes that arise when the leadership structure is not clear about how each person can participate in the decision-making process and their status within the community. Organizations will often need to place people within a hierarchy based on expertise and knowledge, but they must be clear about how this impacts problem-solving and decision-making.
When looking at the familiar sources of conflict in the workplace, it is easy to see that much of the conflict arises from a lack of effective communication. By addressing the root of the issue through education, negotiation, and encouraging active listening, human resources may create an environment that addresses conflict effectively and can resolve it quickly.
Who Benefits from Workplace Conflict Resolution Training
While anyone who deals with a team of people may benefit from conflict resolution training, several key players can benefit both themselves and the organizations that they work for.
Because a human resource team will be the first team contacted when there is a dispute that is interrupting the workflow within the office, professionals within the team will likely benefit greatly from a course in conflict resolution. Dealing with conflicts can become overwhelming, especially if human resources do not have the tools or techniques to resolve the conflicts quickly and effectively. By taking a course in conflict resolution, they will have the ability to reach a resolution and find solutions before it becomes overwhelming.
Leadership can also benefit from a course in conflict resolution. Managing workplace conflict will often require management to understand the needs of employees and clients and ensure that everyone feels safe and connected while working hard on their jobs. By creating a program where employees feel safe to disagree but work together well despite disagreements, the community within the organization will be able to continue to benefit from the productivity and focus of the employees. This type of culture must start with leadership.
Any additional employees may also benefit from learning how to process through conflict and negotiate through conflict. The more employees that are trained in conflict resolution techniques, the better off the company will be when it comes to resolving issues.
Conflict Resolution Skills
As a part of conflict resolution training, participants learn basic skills that will set them up well. For those in a day-long course, they will likely just touch the surface, while those in a certificate program will dive deeper into the world of conflict resolution. People who are looking to resolve conflict among others will often learn basic mediation skills to help them ease tension and open a dialogue between the parties. Some common skills associated with these courses include those listed below.
Because effective communication is the best skill to have when looking to resolve a dispute, communication skills like active listening can help the parties in conflict focus on the situation in front of them instead of looking to get ahead in the overall conversation. This technique focuses on the art of listening well to the other person, often including tips such as paraphrasing to confirm what was said and asking questions to clarify what was not understood. This skill is important both as a party to a conflict and as a mediator because it will strengthen communication and ensure that everyone is understood.
Having Difficult Conversations
Conversations during conflict are never easy, and handling difficult conversations well is one of the skills that can be taught in a conflict resolution course. There are often strong emotions at play in the conversations that can make what should be an easy conversation blow up into a conflict. In a conflict resolution course, the parties will learn how to handle strong emotions and when to take breaks to ensure that the people are cared for as well as the conflict.
A common skill that students will practice here is a shift in focus away from the person and toward the problem itself. When we are in conflict, we will often equate the conflict with the person, but by actively separating the person from the conflict, we can find compassion and empathy for the other side.
Dealing with Difficult People
Another skill that is common in mediation and conflict resolution education is the ability to handle difficult people. Employees are not typically the best of friends, and some of them may choose to be difficult to impact another when they are in conflict. A program on resolving conflict will teach students to use their expertise to explore not just the behavior, but why they are engaging in it. When you gain the ability to understand the why behind what someone is doing, it can give you the ability to see past the behavior and work toward problem-solving,
Identifying Necessary Conflict
One of the biggest skills is learning to identify necessary or meaningful conflicts. While this is still a dispute, it can have a better outcome than a detriment. This presents most frequently during brainstorming sessions when ideas conflict in a way that forces them to be better. Knowing when disagreement is necessary to reach something better is a vital skill for the workplace.
Negotiation and Mediation Skills
Many of the skills listed above are included in negotiation and mediation, yet other practices can help a program be more well-rounded when looking at the big picture of conflict resolution. By completing a certificate program in mediation or just a class, you can have wider insight into how people see conflict and how to help them overcome and avoid conflict in the future. Mediation helps teach you how to guide others through this conflict. This is particularly useful for managers dealing with resolving conflict among employees or human resource professionals.
The Benefits of Working to Resolve Conflict
While it may be clear that conflict resolution is always a worthwhile goal, it can help encourage you to pursue training in conflict resolution to understand several benefits exemplified by the process of resolving conflict.
When conflict is resolved, it can lead to stronger working relationships among employees and co-workers. When conflict is allowed to fester, it can negatively impact the outcomes for both sides and possibly even other people within the organization. By stopping conflict as close as possible to the source, the community within the organization will be less affected and can ensure that the workplace stays healthy and productive moving forward.
A workplace in conflict can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being. Continuous conflict can cause a constant fight or flight activation and increase stress. While productivity may not always be impacted, some people may begin to slump or overachieve to avoid being the target of the dispute. By resolving conflict quickly and effectively, the workplace can be a less stressful and more collaborative place.
Another common benefit of conflict resolution training is the professional development that accompanies it. When you learn new skills that help you perform your job more efficiently and effectively, you can grow as an employee and a human. Learning how to address conflict and keep it under control will ensure that you can continue to perform at a higher level and keep your workplace free from unnecessary conflict.
If you are hoping to learn how to overcome disagreement in the workplace and would like to join a course, ADR Times offers several options, and you can take a look at our page.