Yesterday we spoke about the Problems Raphael, our Head Chef of the Hotel, was having, working with Min, the General Manager, which was a constant struggle for both of them.
I suggested that you can’t win a Conflict in a Hotel; getting the outcome you want regardless of what the other person wants can be gratifying, but the problem is that the underlying issue has not been solved. It will simply reappear in a few shifts time. Much better than winning a Conflict at work is resolving it (carry on reading or watch the video).
I proposed that we should Realise that Conflicts are inevitable in Hotels, that we should Handle Conflict sooner, rather than later and
Ask, that we should Invite the other person to talk about the situation.
At our Meeting.
- i) We should Identify what you see the problem to be in Neutral Terms.
“Raphael, I’ve noticed that at our Head of Department meetings, we get very critical of each others ideas. For instance, the other day you suggested …. Would you agree with this description of the situation?”
This is where you describe the facts of the situation as objectively as possible.
- ii) Apologise. Apologise for your part in the Conflict.
“Raphael, I want to apologise for attacking you at the meetings. It has a bad effect on the mood of our meetings and I can see that it makes you angry. I apologise.”
iii) Appreciate. Praise the other’s part in the Conflict. Tell the other person why it’s worth it to you to solve the Conflict.
“I know we don’t always agree with each other and that we have very different personalities, but I want you to know that I really appreciate your contribution to the Hotel. Without you we would never have achieved what we have done recently.”
This can be difficult with few people finding it easy to praise and appreciate a person they disagree strongly with.
- iv) Discuss the Consequences of the situation for you and for the Hotel? Why is it a problem?
“I don’t like this situation we have now. It’s making me anxious before meetings and it’s making the Hotel less productive. I also think some of the other Head of Departments are starting to wonder what it’s all about? Would you agree?”
Outlining the consequences of the Conflict shows why it’s necessary to resolve the Conflict.
- v) Set an Objective. What would be a good outcome?
“I would like for us to listen more and appreciate each other’s ideas more. You have some great ideas for the Hotel and even if I don’t agree with an idea, I can still listen and make constructive suggestions. Does that sound like a good goal?”
It’s essential to set a goal so both parties know the outcome they’re aiming for. That makes reaching the outcome a lot more likely.
- vi) Request. Ask for specific actions that can be implemented right away.
“I suggest that we introduce a new rule: At meetings when one of us suggests something and the other person disagrees with, we start by saying what’s good about the idea and then say how it could be better. Also, if we start to attack each other as we have done before, I suggest we both excuse ourselves from the meeting and talk about it in private instead of in front of the entire team. Also, what do you say we have a short talk before our next Head of Department meeting to discuss the agenda? How does that sound?”
Some Conflicts cannot be solved by the participants alone; outside help is needed in the form of Conflict mediation. The mediator can be a Hotel Manager or HR employee.
There is no guarantee that the method described here will resolve your Conflict at work. It may or it may not. But even if it doesn’t work you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve tried?