What is conflict resolution? Is it clearing up misunderstandings? Reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both sides? Finding and removing the obstacles that create conflict?
We at EmC Leaders propose that, while most conflicts start at the content level, conflict resolution is primarily a process of understanding, deescalating, and resolving the emotions present. Upon simply addressing the content of the conflict at hand, we often find that conflicts continue to persist, leading to a toxic work environment. Resolving conflicts through emotional connection leads to stronger relationships and sustainable positive culture.
Our particular approach to conflict resolution consists of three stages:
- Stage 1: De-escalate - We create a safe environment for individuals to address the issue and identify triggers and emotions. By clarifying automatic thoughts, we understand the negative cycle of reactions that persist. We reframe the problem in terms of a bad cycle that persist within the team instead of blaming any one individual.
- Stage 2: Restructure - Addressing safety needs is key to creating a new, positive cycle of interaction. By restructuring the cycle, we allow connections to develop, leading to bonding moments to reengage and repair the relationship.
- Stage 3: Integrate - Recognizing the courage it takes to share emotions and restructure the negative cycles must be integrated into the workplace. Full integration creates the psychological safety necessary for individuals to connect and thrive.
By addressing emotions, you are ready to build strong and resilient relationships to address future conflicts and increase workplace engagement. Conflict resolution is not meant to be a single occurrence to eliminate an immediate argument. The goal of the EmC process is to teach the language of emotions and the skills you can utilize every day to build durable bonds and a positive working environment.
We encourage you to think differently about your next conflict; the EmC process has been proven to be effective, yet practice and a desire to grow are key to real change.
Interested in learning more? Read our "Conflict Resolution Guide" for effective ways to manage and resolve conflicts at work. The techniques and skills outlined in the guide are also covered and practiced in our experiential training programs.