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by Kathy Perkins

Many lawsuits result from relatively small, manageable disputes that weren’t dealt with directly, often because HR simply didn’t know what to do or feared making it worse. 

Here are my favorite strategies for dealing with disruptive conflict, based on the book Resolving Conflicts at Work by Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith.

1. Culture shock: Change the culture and context of conflict. Step back, reflect on recurring issues and see if you can change employees’ expectations about how their issues will be addressed. Example: A manufacturing plant increased productivity and reduced claims by adopting a Japanese model of rewarding employee input rather than labeling comments as “complaints.”

2. Shut up and listen: Listen actively, empathetically and responsively. Organizations typically manage by telling people how to behave. Instead, try asking questions and then listening to the answers. You’ll get useful infor...(register to read more)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jane March 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I found when I listen to the other person in a dispute and just let them vent, vent, vent, it somehow releases a whole lot of pent up anger and pretty soon they don’t have anything to vent about anymore so we can move forward to the next step. I learned some really good tips when I took a workshop, a Minneapolis event called “Embrace Your Feminine Power”. It was dynamite.


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