Updated June 8, 2023
Introduction to Dispute Resolution at Workplace
Disputes take place in the workplace. They are inevitable. But what is essential is Dispute Resolution meaning. Disputes happen due to the presence of people who have different expectations, lack of information, misinformation, or poor information, and allowing emotions to drive the decisions. A dispute is among the significant causes of stress for the employees. Due to this, the Dispute becomes critical, whether it means avoiding disputes, arguments, ongoing disputes, or even litigation.
Taking simple steps to resolve disputes immediately can help prevent several workplace disputes from escalating. To avoid conflicts, it is essential to take steps in the early parts of the discussion to diffuse anger and facilitate communication. Dispute resolution meaning can take place through the application of a series of steps in a thoughtful manner. Dispute resolution can reduce employee stress and several other health-related problems. If the managers resolve the issues between the co-workers or between the co-workers and themselves, the claims of bullying and workers’ compensation can be prevented.
Disputes have a negative influence on teamwork as well as productivity if they are not addressed. Using techniques and strategies for dispute resolution in a workplace will help maintain a healthy environment. Specific leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making skills are needed for dispute resolution.
Dispute Resolution Techniques and Strategies
Given below are the dispute resolution techniques and strategies:
1. Defining Acceptable Behaviour
A positive step towards avoiding disputes is defining what constitutes acceptable behavior. Creating a framework for making decisions, using published statements for delegating authority, and encouraging sound business practices in talent management, leadership development, team building, and collaboration will help avoid disputes. The job descriptions should be defined clearly so people know what is expected of them. Besides this, a chain of command that is well articulated to allow effective communication will also help in avoiding disputes. It should be made known publicly in a clear way what will and will not be tolerated.
2. Hit the Dispute Head-On
While it is not always possible to prevent disputes, the secret to dispute resolution, meaning, lies in the prevention of disputes wherever it is possible. Finding areas where potential conflicts might occur and intervening proactively in a decisive and just manner will likely prevent specific conflicts from cropping up. However, if a dispute does flare up, the severity can be minimized by quickly dealing with it. The time spent in the identification and understanding of natural tensions will help in avoiding unnecessary disputes.
3. Act Immediately
Disputes do not go away. The disputes that are not resolved can stay dormant for several days, weeks, or months and may explode on certain occasions. Avoiding conflicts are among the major causes of the claims against the companies. The workers who make such a claim usually feel nobody listened to them or took steps to resolve disputes. They think that their only choice is to seek professional help.
The unresolved disputes in the workplace usually escalate and immediately impact the culture or the climate of the workplace. Disputes can quickly spread and involve other employees, affecting the entire team. Workplace relationships, performance, and productivity are impacted when disputes take place. The most crucial tip for dispute resolution is to handle them sooner rather than later and not wait for them to resolve themselves.
4. Understand the WHFM Factor
Understanding the other professionals’ position of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) is critical. It is essential to understand the motivations of others before weighing in the way of avoiding disputes is helping the people around you in achieving their objectives. If we approach disputes with the viewpoint of adopting measures that help others achieve their goals in the best way possible, it can lead to effective resolution. In that case, you will realize that only some obstacles are standing in your path concerning dispute resolution.
5. The Importance Factor
You need to pick your battles and avoid disputes just for the sake of it, but in case the issue is significant enough to create a conflict, then it is also very substantial to resolve it. If the situation, circumstance, or problem is powerful enough and in case enough is at stake, people will attempt to do whatever is essential to open the communication lines and close philosophical and/or positional gaps.
6. Dispute should be Viewed as an Opportunity
Hidden inside virtually all the disputes is the potential for a tremendous opportunity for learning and teaching. Wherever a disagreement exists, inherent potential for growth and development also exists. If you are a CEO who does not use disputes as an opportunity for leadership development and team building, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Addressing the divergent positions properly can help the stimulation of learning and innovation in ways that are difficult to imagine. Innovative leaders need to look upside down in varied opinions.
7. Separately Meet with the People involved in the Dispute and then Gather the Group
Before intervening, it is necessary to understand the issues clearly. The perceptions of people differ about what has taken place. It is, therefore, essential to understand their perceptions so that you can focus on the important things for each person and accordingly find common ground.
A meeting has to be arranged with all the parties involved in discussing the issue. Everyone should get a chance to speak. To gain a complete understanding of the Dispute, it is necessary to hear from all sides. Holding a group meeting and expediting a resolution that satisfies everyone is crucial.
8. Stay Calm, do a Reality Check, and Identify the True Impediment
“Nothing gives one so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”
Escalation leads to disputes, and anger leads to escalation. When people are angry, they stop listening to
understand, and instead, they attend so that they can argue. It is essential to remain calm and look at the bigger picture and its implications. To resolve any dispute, it is necessary to begin solving the problem. The mediator needs to bring the people back to reality by taking their attention away from the minor issues and focusing on the significant issue. In all the disputes, you must ask yourself, “What is the motivating factor here? What is keeping this person from agreeing to a solution?
9. Listen to Understand and then Speak Out
The best way to solve or settle a dispute is to listen carefully to what the involved parties say. This will give you get an understanding of the nature of the Dispute. Their reason or point may turn out to be true. It would help if you learned about the people’s underlying interests by letting them speak and listening to their perspective about the issue until you find the thing standing in the way of dispute resolution meaning.
To diffuse the people’s anger, you need to listen to them. Hear them till they can speak and let them vent their feelings until they can and until they start calming down. The person will ultimately slow down, start feeling safe enough, and trust you with the reasons for their frustration. After this, you can begin troubleshooting the solutions.
10. Accentuate the Positive
It is vital to find or create common points between the persons involved in the Dispute. It will be helpful and empathetic to say, “I know what you are going through. I have had a similar situation just recently. Let me see what I can do about this.” This will help in bringing the situation to normal. It helps tell the other person that he or she is not the only one going through it and that his or her reaction to the issue is expected. This will help in instantly calming the person.
11. Attack the Problem and not the person and be Impartial
The focus should be on what the people need and what is significant for them, not on attempting to judge right and wrong. Usually, the contributions to the situation have been made by both parties. The Dispute can quickly escalate if the judgments are made regarding who is right or wrong and specifically making comments on this judgment.
Depersonalizing your comments and focusing solely on the issue can increase the likelihood of your points being heard clearly. Instead of accusing the people of “always messing things up,” it would be better to say, “We’ll have to take a closer look at why this keeps happening.” In most of the statements we make in a dispute, we are trying to fight with our anger, and there is a temptation to add a zinger to the point we are attempting to put across. You will be heard better and improve the chances of dispute resolution, meaning in the way you want, if you can take that zinger out by catching yourself.
Thus, the blame game needs to be avoided. Assigning blame is helpful in the case of dispute resolution meaning only when you set it to yourself. If the goal is to resolve the Dispute and fix the problem, it will not help to find out whose fault it was. It is a costly diversion because a person usually checks out of the discussion if he feels blamed. The emphasis should be on finding solutions to improve the situation, individually and collectively, rather than assigning blame and exacerbating the issue.
It would help if you did not take sides or display any opinion favorable for one person compared to the other. To arrive at a just and equitable solution, evaluating the situation from all angles is necessary.
12. Focus on the Future and not on the past
To resolve disputes, it’s essential to shift focus from blaming others for what went wrong or what they should have done differently. Instead, one should approach it as a problem-solving exercise and concentrate on taking steps to find a resolution. After this, the organizations can look into the past and analyze where things had gone wrong and how efficiency and quality control can be improved. However, whenever there is an issue that has a customer who is angry or a disgruntled employee, everyone is only interested in the solution.
The bottom line is that resolutions can be generally found for disputes whenever there is a sincere desire to resolve them. To build rapport successfully, a solid underlying desire is necessary. This desire should encompass approaches such as offering the other cheek, forgiveness, compromise, empathy, compassion, active listening, finding common ground, and service above self and others. When positional gaps cannot be closed, the issue can be resolved by doing the right things instead of playing favorites.
This is a guide to the Dispute Resolution at Workplace. Here we discuss the introduction and dispute resolution techniques and strategies. You can also look at the following articles to learn more –