How to deal with conflict at work – here’s a useful tool to help manage conflict, build communication skills and create good relationships at work.

The ability to build relationships, communicate effectively and work in a team are among the top five skills that workplaces are looking for.  But no two people see the world in the same way, and so it is normal for conflict to arise. Knowing how to manage conflicting ideas can be a challenge in the workplace.

Our thinking and behaviour are based on a sum total of all our experiences and perceptions of those experiences, which are completely unique to us. The potential for conflict can often be worsened in a work environment because there is pressure to perform and we are teamed up with people whom we might not chose to be our best friends. In a multi-cultural environment, there is even more room for diverging understanding and ideas.

I’m having a conflict with someone at work. What should I do?

The meta mirror is a simple NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) technique than can help you improve your communication skills, build relationships and deal with conflict. You can either reflect back on a conflict or try to use this tool during a conflict.

Imagine yourself as the other person having a conflict with you. What are they looking at, feeling, hearing? You could even copy their posture and gestures. Be specific about all the senses to give you a good idea of how it feels to be the other person. Consider this questions: Why might they be thinking in this way?

Now imagine yourself as a third person watching the conflict. What can you sense from both people (yourself and the other person)? This position should allow you to see an overall view of what is going on.

Allow yourself to reflect on the information you have gained in the different positions. This should allow you to work towards solving the conflict. Role playing this scenario with teams and colleagues can be particularly effective in improving relationships in the workplace. Have a go and see how you get on.

Access to a more detailed step-by-step guide to the Meta Mirror as well as other coaching exercises on how to manage conflict, relationships at work and other topics are available in the How to Feel Great @ Work e-learning course.