8 Phrases to Smooth Conflict Resolution

How to take control of troublesome employees and manage better
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Office Coaching

8 phrases to smooth conflict resolution

Few people enjoy conflict, but it's an inevitable part of life and ­business, so if you want to succeed, you need to become skilled in managing it.

Don't let troublesome workers affect your productivity and career. Learn how to manage them so you can achieve your goals. Troublesome People at Work: How to Coach, Counsel and Turn Around Problem Employees.

A few phrases can help you to resolve conflicts when they arise, says author, speaker and consultant Barry Moltz:

1. The last thing I want to say is no. This shows consideration for the other person's feelings and you take her perspective into consideration.

2. Having no secrets between us is critical. If we can't talk to each other, we will never be able to be productive. This recognizes the importance of clear, open communications and can help break the ice before a difficult discussion.

3. It seems things are not running as smoothly as they have in the past. This is a nonthreatening way to open a tough conversation that shows you want to explore the problem, not assign blame.

4. I really appreciate your input into our team. This tells people they're valued and worthwhile even when you aren't using their ideas.

As a manager, it's not always easy to take the plunge and address the problem. But Troublesome People at Work gives you the confidence to identify when there's a problem, approach the person who's struggling and conduct a successful counseling session to make things better. Get the guide here.

5. We may have a misunderstanding, since I may not have been clear about my expectations. Again, this avoids assigning blame and also opens the door to you being the problem. This approach helps the other person feel less threatened and defensive.

6. What held you back from meeting your commitment? Sometimes there's a good reason people don't get things done on schedule.

7. What can I do to support you? This is a great phrase for a manager or team leader to use and can help you find out how to help your team do its best.

8. You're saying one thing and doing another. This points out a discrepancy between intentions and actions and makes someone think about where he or she may be going wrong.

— Adapted from "10 Phrases That Can Resolve Any Conflict,” Barry Moltz, OPEN Forum.

Don't think it's worth it to single out a struggling worker and take time out of your busy schedule to help? Consider the potential results if you DON'T confront problems:
  • Loss of productivity. Poor performers do only about a third of the work of average employees.
  • Loss of business. Clients who have to deal with difficult employees may take their business somewhere else.
  • Troublesome People at WorkLoss of time. It can take you twice as long to supervise a poor performer.
  • Loss of talent. If your other employees don't think you're managing well, they might find other work.
  • Loss of self-esteem. Managers who blame themselves for workplace problems can feel less self-confident.
  • Rule violations. Certain behaviors can put employees at risk.
Still not convinced Troublesome People at Work can help you improve your organization? Think about this: How much is an hour of your time worth? How much does your most difficult worker earn? Add these two together and you'll get the cost of an hour of supervision. If Troublesome People at Work can save you even an hour of supervisory time, it's already paid for itself. And remember, it can even save you the high cost of a termination-related lawsuit. Get your copy today!
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