Recovering Relationships After Conflict


    Conflict management involves more than just resolving the disagreement. If you fail to meet the emotional and psychological needs of those involved, you may see the conflict return and/or serious damage to the relationship may occur.

    Depending on the severity of the conflict and how it was handled at each stage of the resolution process, it may not be possible to get back to the point in the relationship you were at before the disagreement. The key to reducing this possibility is to identify and resolve conflicting issues as early as possible. The longer a problem remains unresolved, the more damage it can cause. Whenever possible, apply one or more of the following strategies to help protect and save the relationship(s) between you and your coworkers, supervisor, and clients. Here are the key steps to save a relationship in the event of a conflict:

    Reaffirm the value of the relationship. You cannot assume that others feel the same as you or understand your intention unless you communicate it. Tell them how much you value your relationship. This is especially important when dealing with customers.

    Show commitment. You need to verbalize and demonstrate your desire to continue or strengthen your relationship. The way to do this with customers is to restore service or work collectively with the customer to restore trust and the relationship.

    To be realistic. Behavioral styles make it difficult for some people to “forgive and forget”. You must systematically help restore their confidence. It may take some time to achieve this, but the effort is worth it.

    Stay flexible. A strong relationship involves the ability to give and receive. It’s especially crucial that you and others involved make concessions after a conflict.

    Keep communication open. One of the main causes of conflict and broken relationships is poor communication.

    Gain commitment. You can’t do it all by yourself. Obtain a commitment to work towards reconciliation from anyone else involved in the conflict.

    Monitor progress. Don’t assume that the conflict has been resolved that it will remain so. Deep-rooted issues often surface, especially when commitment has not been secured.

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