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How To Referee An Office Dispute

On30/ 06 /16
Euro 2016 is in full swing and referees have had their work cut out.

On the first weekend of play, Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo handed out no less than 7 yellows in the Albania-Switzerland tie.

Let's face it, refereeing is no easy job and some decisions can be unpopular. However, in the workplace as on the pitch, leadership and conflict often go hand in hand.

Managers can't escape conflict, so having an effective strategy for dealing with it can be a great help. We explore some of the methods to help diffuse conflict, and maintain a happy, productive office.

1. Address conflict sooner rather than later

The golden rule for dealing with conflict is to address it quickly. If you leave issues to fester, they can become even harder to solve. So, managers need to take the bull by the horns and tackle the dispute before it escalates. Remember - conflicts rarely blow over by themselves.

2. Let people tell their story

One of the basic principles of mediation is allowing people to speak. When people are upset, they need to tell their story. Prevent them from doing this, and it will only add to their frustration.

Initially, allowing people to speak their minds may add fuel to the fire, however this is an essential step to resolving any dispute. Letting each party lay their cards on the table will provide you with a basis to work through the issues.

3. Identify the underlying issue

In every conflict there will be a key factor that is preventing a solution. Identify this, and you’ll be half way to solving it. So what is keeping each person from agreeing to a solution? Is it practical or emotional and can their needs be met another way?

If you take the time to understand people’s true motivations, you’re more likely to find a resolution that lasts.

4. Keep it Objective

With some particularly challenging problems, it’s easy to start going round in circles. So, it’s crucial to remain solution focused and not get sidetracked by personal or emotional issues. Resolutions can be reached by working practically through the issues, and helping each individual to achieve their goals. So, always keep it objective.

5. Bring the focus back to the bigger picture

In many disputes, people tend to focus on the small details. By putting the emphasis back on the bigger picture –a faster resolution can often be achieved. When you ask people to work together for a common goal, differences often melt away. So remind people what they are working for, and encourage them to collaborate to achieve this.

6.The rewards of refereeing

Whilst workplace disputes may appear negative, good managers view them as an opportunity. For hidden within every conflict, there are ideas for improving processes, whether streamlining workflow or increasing collaboration.

In the end resolutions to most conflicts will be found with a forward thinking attitude and clear processes to work through issues. This, above all else, requires a firm belief that a resolution can be achieved, and a willingness to help others find common ground.


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