- Be approachable. Let people know that they can say what’s on their mind without being criticized for not being able to sort out their own problems.
- Know how to spot the first signs of a dispute. Tune into that conflict radar. Early action during ‘the golden hour’ is often critical for stopping disagreements from becoming entrenched.
- Start talking. Getting the two parties to open up about their concerns helps them to articulate what’s really troubling them and gives you a chance to work out how you can help them reach an outcome
- Don't make assumptions. Tempting though it may be to act as judge and jury, remember what they say about fools who rush in. Observe without evaluating.
- Change the scenery. Take each party away from the scene of their dispute for a quiet ‘one-to-one’. Even a quick walk along the corridor to the water cooler is effective.
- Feel the force. Let individuals get their feelings off of their chest, with all the pent-up emotion that might bring. But don’t rest on words that are spoken in anger.
- Listen. Really listen to what individuals have to say, without any intention of replying.
- Question. Coach and probe to help individuals reflect and make sense of their anger, as well as to guiding them into think through ways forward.
- Play back only what you notice. Say what you see, have heard, and how this all seems to relate. Don’t confuse interpreting with assuming.
- Encourage peace. Help individuals to see that compromise, taking a criticism on the cheek or making a simple apology are often their best options for moving forward peaceably, except of when a serious allegation needs to be investigated.
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