Turning Disputes into Decisions

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a personal motif in the arguments or dig out similar events that happened in the past making insinuations of blame. Even when resolving conflict amongst other members of your team, avoid practising favouritism. It is a sure-shot way of losing the respect of your co-workers.

Anticipate and come prepared
There is nothing like letting your work do the talking for you. If you think a particular situation may blow up into something more explosive, controversial or conflict-inducing, get one step ahead of it. Enlist the help of a close friend and think through the various objections that could be raised or problems that could arise at the time. The good folk at Microsoft call this a session of 'Rude Questions'. What are the worst possible challenges that could arise? How would you handle them most gracefully? Do your homework well and arm yourself with answers rather than anger.

Take it slowly
When introducing a radical change in your office environment, it is often a good idea to do so in small phases so that people don’t get a rude shock. Most of us don’t like changes, no matter how much we acknowledge that changes are a part of life and no change means stagnation. It is natural human tendency to resist change. It means that the things that your colleagues were familiar and comfortable with, even if they were not the best, are not going to be the same again. So get people to agree to change of a limited extent and then expand on it gradually until the entire idea is rolled out. This will give people time to get used to the new situation.

Get assistance
One of the final steps to take when you sense something may develop into an unpleasant situation is to get the key players over to your side. Convince the leaders using the angles that work with them (by talking numbers, risk, impact, or whatever relevant appeals) and then use their acknowledged leadership to convert the others in the team to your views by proxy. You will ensure that your ideas are well received and not viewed as threatening, disrupting, or regressive.

Conflict can be a time for discussion, reflection and action. If viewed positively, it can be a great building block of vibrant team dynamics that can reap huge benefits.

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