Salvaging Relationships After Conflict

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Managing conflict involves more than resolving disagreements. If you fail to address the emotional and psychological needs of the people involved, you may experience a return to conflict and / or serious damage to the relationship.

Depending on the severity of the conflict and how it is handled at each stage of the resolution process, it can be impossible to get back to the point you were in before the disagreement. The key to reducing this possibility is to identify and address conflicting issues at the earliest. The longer an issue remains unresolved, the greater the loss. Whenever possible, implement one or more of the following strategies to help protect and defend the relationship (s) between you and your coworkers, supervisor, and customers. Once a conflict occurs, the following are important steps to save the relationship:

Verify the value of the relationship. You cannot assume that others feel the same until you communicate it. Tell them how much you value your relationship. This is especially important when dealing with customers.

Demonstrate commitment. You should verbally demonstrate a desire to continue or strengthen your relationship. The way to do this with customers is through service recovery or working collectively with the customer to rebuild trust and relationships.

Be real. Due to behavioral styles, it is difficult for some people to “forgive and forget”. You have to help them restore their faith systematically. It may take some time to complete, but the effort is worth it.

Remain flexible. A solid relationship involves the ability to give and take. It is especially important that you and others make concessions after the conflict.

Keep communication open. Bad communication is the biggest cause of conflict and relationships.

Get commitment You cannot do all this by yourself. Obtain a commitment to work towards reconciliation from another person (s) involved in the conflict.

monitor progress. Do not assume because the conflict was resolved that it would remain that way. Deep-seated issues often resurface, especially when commitment was not achieved.

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