Conflict Resolution

More than once I’ve run into situations where I’m working with two people/groups that don’t get along. Especially as a manager or consultant its easy to wind up between two factions that can’t get along for reasons often lost to history. Telling them to ‘work it out’ rarely works. If they could, they would have done so already.

Some of this is just human nature. We’ve got our own goals, our own world view, and sometimes other people just don’t share our view. We can compromise, or we can say no, no more compromise.

Short of hiring Dr. Phil, it can’t always be fixed either. So how do you get work done?

My technique is to wait until something hits that critical point. Wait for a log jam, incident, whatever, and then get them in a room. Make them both say publicly what they’ve avoided saying, get the issue in the open. There’s going to be some tension, but you can leave the room with a commitment from both sides to do whatever you need to finish the task or project.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to fix things. Sometimes explaining why the other acts or sees things a certain way can be an eye opener. Sometimes it will make no difference. You can’t fix all things. Fix what you can,get agreements on the rest,and call it a day. Sometimes that’s all there is.