How to Effectively Mediate a Conflict A business can’t be successful if it is full of conflict. Underlying animosity means that people don’t trust each other or work productively. Resolving conflicts quickly can be the difference between failure and success for your business. Each conflict is different, but the way to solve them is the same. First you need to set the scene for the negotiations to happen. In order for people to open up to new ideas, they need to feel safe and respected. Discussions should be steered away from individuals and redirected towards the problem. Each person needs to feel like they are being listened to. You should take everything people say with thoughtful consideration and not just shut down ideas. Rephrasing what people are saying is a good way to show you are listening and to understand better. You also need to gather as much information as possible. You need to work past the position someone is taking to figure out what they actually need or believe. To find out what their real concerns are, you have to be objective and think from their point of view. You shouldn’t try to resolve too many issues at once. Keep the issue concise. If you show that you can empathize with each side of the conflict, things will go much smoother. Starting sentences with “you” can seem accusatory. Instead, try starting sentences with “I” to show that you are thinking about your actions instead of someone else’s. Clarify everyone’s feelings instead of assuming what they are.
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Once you have set up the negotiations and listened, you need to make sure that the problem is clearly identified as the same with everyone. You won’t reach a solution if the problem isn’t identified. Identifying the problem can help people to see that we are all working towards the same goal. A brainstorming session can help everyone to feel like they are part of the solution. Everyone should feel included, so gather as many ideas as you can at the beginning. Only add ideas, don’t get rid of any, during this stage. Don’t stop to evaluate any of them, just keep adding more. People will stop thinking about new ideas if you stop too long on one. Someone should make the list of ideas and then someone else should edit them. Get as much input from different people as you can. You should be as creative as possible, because you never know what is going to prompt the idea that turns into the actual solution. Once everyone has stated their position and understands everyone else, it is time to negotiate. Making sure everyone feels safe will go a long way to reaching a solution.