Fostering Relationships: Resolution Pyramid

(This post includes content from Associate Speaker, Kelly Barnes...)

Working in a team environment can be a stressful situation. Conflicts arise. Tempers flair. Disagreements happen. The most cohesive teams don't agree all the time. They simply know how to resolve disagreements effectively.

Step 1: Speed. When you are experiencing a riff with a team members, get it resolved as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Process. How you go about resolving the riff is critical to maintaining team trust. Disagreements can keep from growing into major blowouts if you follow the lessons from the Resolution Pyramid below...

The top of the pyramid is you internally resolving any small issues you might have with a team member. Certain issues that you have with other team members need to just stay with you and need to be let go. You are not always going to agree with everyone, but that doesn't mean you have to make an issue out of every disagreement.

If you do need to talk it out, the top level is about you getting your side of the story mapped out before you talk to the other person. Get a firm understanding of how you feel, think about why you feel that way, and consider how your feelings are affecting how you think about the disagreement. In any disagreement, there is both emotions and logic involved. Many times sound logic can't be heard because the emotions are speaking so loudly. Giving yourself time to think about your emotions can help balance out this equation.

1 - 1
The second level is where the rubber meets the road. It is you privately approaching the person you need to have a difficult conversation with. This session starts with you asking questions and listening to learn. You are learning their perspective, their opinions and their side of the story. This is not about you stating your case or trying to convince them they are wrong. This is about diplomacy, charisma and character first. Your end goal is to get to "Our Way."

Instead of a 1-on-1 discussion, sometimes a third party needs to be included and the meeting needs to be a group meeting. This might occur if a mediator needs to be present or if more than just you and the other person are intimately involved in the disagreement. The biggest concern here is to be careful with who you think needs to be in the group. Only people who can bring valid and relevant first-hand information to the discussion need to be involved.

The bottom level of the pyramid is about clearing the air or talking about the elephant in the room. Information (and mis-information) spreads quickly among team members. The team layer is about sharing with the entire team the truth (do bad information doesn't spread) and allowing any of the disagreement partners (from a 1-on-1 or a group discussion) an opportunity to share with the team what they learned and how they will move forward. This is not a time to rehash everything (as everyone in the room d0esn't need to know everything, nor will they care).

Following this hierarchy of information exchange will allow you to build trust in a team environment and get conflicts resolved quickly and accurately.

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