Interpersonal conflict is one of the most stressful events that we as people navigate. When healthy conflict degenerates into hurt feelings, lost trust or attacks on character, it is time to de-escalate the situation and create the space for understanding.
Establish rapport with the parties individually, making sure that their feelings are understood. This often involves naming the feeling – something many forget to do. Without agreeing on who is right or wrong, identify their concerns and provide empathy. This will provide emotional first aid and decrease the likelihood of further escalation.
Align them to purpose. With authenticity and vulnerability, lay out what is at stake for you, the organisation, and them in resolving the conflict well. Ask them to reflect on who they need to be and what they would like to see in the other person – not as a criticism of what is not there, but as an invitation to see them in a new light.
Have a mediated process with both parties agreeing on some ground rules like respectful listening. The mediator should be impartial and be able to support each person to problem-solve. The outcome of this process is understanding and a new set of agreements for how to address the problem going forward.
Talk to us about how we can help you support individuals going through conflict through our contact form. Alternative our Mental Health First Responders workshop may also aid you in conflict resolution, check out our events page to see when we will run our next workshop.