In any company or group situation, interpersonal conflicts are bound to happen. When two or more people with varying personalities work together, communication differences, work style preferences, and conflicting opinions are inevitable. The key is to be able to overcome any differences so everyone stays productive and the organization excels.

Whenever interpersonal conflict arises in your day-to-day dealings with others, put these 5 steps to conflict resolution to work. They’ll save you both time and headaches, and enable everyone involved to work together harmoniously.

1. Identify the situation
While this step may seem obvious, you need to remember to think in specifics. Simply saying, “The marketing department drives me crazy with their ‘pie in the sky’ thinking,” will not help you resolve the issue. You need to precisely pinpoint who is causing the conflict as well as what he or she is doing to upset you.

2. Make an appointment to discuss the conflict
Once you’ve figured out the specifics, you need to meet with the person. Go to his or her office and say, “I need to talk to you about our working relationship. Would you be willing to meet me for lunch on Thursday?” Whatever you do, don’t barge into the person’s office and start accusing him or her of things. You want to meet the person on neutral ground in a public area so the conversation stays civil.

3. Craft your “I” message
The first few words you say to the person will set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Therefore, make sure you don’t accuse the person or put him or her on the defensive by using “you” statements, as in, “You are always late for work and you’re making my job very hard.” Instead, follow this formula:
I feel (your responsibility) when I (non-judgmental) because (how it affects you).

For example, “I feel frustrated when I have to lead the morning meetings every day because everyone agreed to be here on time for the meetings but not everyone is.” This approach takes the attention away from the person and focuses it on the behavior that is causing conflict.”

4. Set your goal
Plan ahead of time what you think the other person will say and what you will say in response. Additionally, plan the desired changes you would like to see the other person implement. And don’t forget that no conflict is one-sided. You have to look at the other person’s side of things and find out what you can do to make work easier for him or her too.

5. Get closure
Before leaving the meeting, detail the specific agreements both parties have made. Shake hands, and then choose a date and time that you’ll meet again to evaluate overallprogress.

Remember to use the following steps to resolve conflict and interpersonal issues:
• Identify the situation
• Make an appointment to discuss the conflict
• Craft your “I” message
• Set your goal
• Get closure

Conflicts and interpersonal issues don’t have to be ugly situations that cause grief and pain. Anyone can resolve conflicts by being Direct with Respect® and by keeping an open mind - the more successful you’ll be in business and in life.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Weiss, M.A., CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a conflict resolution consultant and accountability coach who provides bold solutions to boost the bottom line® for individuals and teams. Contact Joyce at 800.713.1926. Resolve conflict and interpersonal issues by looking at video blogs and podcasts at Joyce invites you to visit to receive the Bold Solutions Ezine to improve your working condition.