Magazine article Business Credit

Conflict Resolution: Building Better Relationships to Get the Job Done

Magazine article Business Credit

Conflict Resolution: Building Better Relationships to Get the Job Done

Article excerpt

Have you ever been so tightly wound that the thought of doing anything but shouting at the top of your lungs wouldn't satisfy you? Think about it. Your pulse starts to speed up; you can actually feel your blood pressure rise from the pit of your stomach to the top of your head until you're ready to turn red and explode. What's the reason behind this, and why do you feel this way? One word: conflict. Wouldn't it be easier to look the devil in the eye and face the issue rather than getting worked up over something as simple as a difference of opinion? The answer you're looking for is "yes." Instead of butting heads like bighorn sheep with a co-worker, another department, supervisor or worse yet, your customer, take a second to step back from the situation and view it objectively. Doing so can be the first step in resolving your conflict.

"Conflict resolution is a process that allows parties to communicate and work through the perceptions or realities that have them in conflict," said Twisted X Boots CFO Jeff Jones, who presented on the topic at NACM's Credit Congress & Expo in June. In most conflicts, a quick fix is not the answer nor is it a possibility. Conflicts can arise for a number of reasons: having unexpressed expectations, interpreting the message as personal and having the past be part of the future--i.e., don't hold onto something, explained Eric Papp, founder of Agape Leadership, who also presented in Dallas this past summer.

The end game is to find the "real" problem or root cause and come up with a solution, said Rick Hernandez, president and CEO of management consulting firm Syntesis Global, in an FCIB leadership webinar on conflict resolution. Hernandez will be speaking at NACM's 122nd annual Credit Congress in Phoenix this June. Reaching the goal of a successful resolution takes time and is not an exact science. "It's a progression of trust and ability to work with another person," said Papp.

Among the first steps to finding a solution is to acknowledge that there is a conflict and choose to address it. These are often barriers for moving forward toward a resolution, noted Jones. It's OK to have a conflict, but there are different ways to go about resolving the problem. Conflict resolution can be healthy or unhealthy, said Papp. Healthy resolutions involve talking about the disagreement clearly with the person, while unhealthy scenarios are more childish and can engage name-calling or going behind the other party's back.

After taking the initial steps of recognizing the conflict and deciding to dive head first into the situation, certain factors should be considered. The questions "what's at stake" and "do we need to engage" need to be addressed, according to the webinar. What is the purpose of resolving the conflict and what will be the outcome? Does finding a resolution improve safety, customer service, business operations, etc.?

Communicating about the conflict is great, but there needs to be a reason to have the conversation--the resolution. Getting to this point will likely not be easy and will take time. The idea of conflict resolution is to work with the other party toward a solution, so understanding that you are part of the problem along with the other parties involved is critical, explained Jones. "I believe the single biggest challenge to resolving conflict is getting the parties to overcome the belief that the other party is responsible for the conflict." Once you get beyond this problem, conflict resolution can begin. …

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