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Learn How to Resolve Workplace Conflict using EQ in 3 Easy Steps

Conflict is inevitable. It will always exist among people, in relationships and yes in the workplace, but your ability to handle conflict and how you react will determine whether the outcome will be positive or negative. Unresolved conflict in the workplace reduces employee morale, decreases productivity, and increases absenteeism. Stress levels and anxiety surges, which negatively affects the performance and general wellness of your employees. Conflict that is continuously erupting or conflict that is not resolved effectively can even aggravate situations which leads to violence, theft or malicious damage and sabotage. 

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion,” said Dale Carnegie. And when people are emotional about an issue, conflict is bound to develop. 

When you deal with conflict, specifically in the workplace, it is important to realise that you are dealing with real people with real lives. Although it might seem a ridiculous comment to make, managers and leaders often forget this when they are so busy throughout the day.  This is why, Emotional Intelligence as part of the manager’s skill set, is so important because emotions like compassion, empathy and kindness can help resolve conflict effectively and reach a desired outcome. 

Here are Three Easy EQ Steps to Take when Faced with Conflict:

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” — John Hancock

1.     Conducive Environment

People can’t resolve conflict in chaos. They can’t listen or talk to each other when things are heated. An emotionally intelligent manager makes sure that the environment where the conflict is addressed is calm and private. Having a screaming match among the staff in an open-plan office is not only embarrassing for both parties but does not give both parties a space where they can listen and talk calmly to understand each other’s point. Furthermore, this type of behaviour in front of all the staff breaks morale and has a negative impact on productivity. 

The EQ way is to remove the conflicting parties out of the current environment as soon as possible, and resolve the conflict in a private, quiet, and calm space like a boardroom away from other co-workers who might also entice or aggravate even more conflict. When a manager does that, he/she automatically give both parties a time-out to calm down while they go to the room. This type of environment will establish a sense of comfort which will help them calm their own emotions and make it easier to talk to one another. 

2.     Communicate Effectively

Practicing active listening can make or break the resolution process. “When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air”, explains Stephen R. Covey. For a highly EQ skilled manager to properly understand the conflicting issue, they need to listen with empathy to comprehend and get to the route of the conflict. Talk about the facts. Ask the right questions. Repeat what the other party said to confirm essential information. Make sure you understand all the details and the emotion behind it. Marya Mannes said that “The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control emotions by the application of reason.” 

Managers who are emotionally intelligent are self-aware, and ensure their non-verbal communication is not provoking more conflict. When you practice self-awareness, you know that your body language can irritate, and enflame a person even more, putting more fuel to the problem. Stay calm and adopt a relaxed demeanour. When you do this, the parties will also mimic you, and you will instil calmness. Open and calm communication and response is what will get the conflict resolved for good. Keep re-evaluating the scenarios.  

3.     Authenticity and Confidence

“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master,” said Epictetus. Here is where you need to self-manage in such a way that you don’t allow this. When you look confident, and you communicate with confidence you automatically seem like you know what you are doing. Leaders who know themselves and can control their emotions are naturally more confident. When you are true to yourself and communicate with authenticity people relate better and know you too are human. Then people tend to listen. They respond in a positive manner, and they are more inclined to accept your recommendations and solutions. 

“We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” — Salovey and Mayer

There are a few practical workshops on Emotional IntelligenceConflict Management as well as how to be Smart with People. These workshops explore all aspects related to the effective and emotionally intelligent management of people at all levels of your business and personal life.

It will equip delegates with the knowledge and practical skills to manage difficult people, difficult conversations, and conflict.  It will explain the principles of effective inter-personal communication and how to understand behaviour in order to modify it.