Conflict Resolution for COOs – –
Conflict, by nature, involves emotions. The hardest part of dealing with conflict is untangling the emotions from the issue at hand. Often the way people feel about a problem is more important to them than the problem itself.
That said, you must deal with the emotional side of conflicts if you want to truly resolve them. Get all concerns on the table and discuss them in a rational way.
As Second in Command, hold yourself as responsible as your CEO does for setting the right tone in resolving a conflict. Sometimes the issue will be with your CEO, other times it will be with someone who reports to you. Either way, I’ve found these phrases really help you communicate effectively when you’re trying to resolve a conflict.
Describe exactly what the person did that you didn’t like, or what doesn’t follow your company’s system, values, and so on. Don’t criticize the person, criticize their actions. Be descriptive, not evaluative.
Tell the person how their actions make you feel. For example, “I feel upset, frustrated, angry.” Describe your feelings and dig deep. If you can truly get your emotions out you’ll have no problem addressing the problem itself.
Describe what you need the person to do in the future in these situations so the conflict doesn’t return. By focusing on the need, you’ve addressed your feelings and the person realizes you’re getting to the meat of the issue and focusing on resolving the problem.
“How do you feel?”
Ask the other person to share their thoughts and feelings. They likely have their own version of the facts that need to be heard and validated before the conflict can be resolved.
Allowing everyone to be articulate, and pulling all their feelings out if need be, is the only way to resolve conflicts.