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Conflict Resolution Skills for Human Resources

Instructor: Brianna Whiting
In this lesson we will learn about conflict. We will explore ways to identify conflict, and learn the skills that human resources should possess in order to resolve conflict. The lesson will conclude with a summary and a quiz to test your knowledge.

A First Look at Conflict

We have all been in some sort of disagreement at one point in our lives. Often it begins at a young age when we fight with our siblings as kids. It then can happen again as we venture out into the world and come across others with different opinions than us. Whatever the conflict may be, one thing is common with all disagreements, there needs to be some sort of resolution. However, whether or not that resolution is effective depends on the skills of those involved. In this lesson we will learn about conflict resolution skills that the human resource department needs to be equipped with, to keep the workplace running smoothly.

Defining Conflict

Before we can actually begin to learn about the skills needed to find a solution to a conflict, we should first define what a conflict is. A conflict is a struggle between two or more people who have incompatible opinions or goals. Often times in the workplace, those involved in a conflict are competing for resources which may be interfering with the achievement of goals. Conflicts are destructive and can negatively affect how one feels about another individual. It can also cause a workplace to segregate by forcing others to take sides.

Conflict 101

In order for human resources to find a resolution to a conflict, they must first have the skills to identify a conflict. Listed below are some key characteristics of a conflict.

  • A conflict is a situation where there is a perceived threat. This means that one or both individuals feel that their idea, goal, etc. is in jeopardy in some way or another.
  • A conflict will grow until it is resolved. This is because individuals tend to focus on them, and soon conflicts can interfere with work because it is all one thinks about.
  • Conflicts are based on perceptions and can trigger strong emotions. Because we have our own beliefs and thoughts, this can trigger passion and ultimately conflict, if someone else does not share the same belief or thought.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Now that we know what a conflict is, and how to distinguish it from a simple disagreement, let's take a minute to learn what skills are important in order to find a resolution for conflict. The following are important skills the human resource department should possess in order to be good at conflict resolution.

1. Remain calm - Escalation can lead to conflict. This means when people let their anger escalate, they often listen to argue back, instead of listening to understand.

2. Listen to understand - In order to solve a conflict, we need to listen to what the other person is actually saying. As was mentioned earlier, we need to listen to understand the person instead of listening so that we know when it is our time to argue back.

3. Highlight the positives - Finding some common ground is helpful with conflict resolution. When someone knows they are not alone in their situation, it makes them feel more normal and can help calm them down.

4. Use tact - When you help people understand your perspective without forcing it on them or making them feel attacked or defenseless, you can help avoid a conflict.

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