Resolving interpersonal conflict

Allen Oelschlaeger
CEO, Vistelar Conflict Management
Industry: Conflict management training

Allen Oelschlaeger spent more than 20 years dealing with interpersonal conflict within large corporations before becoming an entrepreneur in the late 1990s. Since then, as the CEO of a conflict management training company, he has discovered that conflict exists in all organizations, no matter the size.

“When differences divide us, treating people with dignity by showing them respect establishes a common ground for resolving disagreements. That’s the foundational principle for managing conflict that we teach at Vistelar. The problem is that most people, when faced with conflict, don’t do this. Instead, they rely on their natural inclinations and react impulsively, which often leads to disastrous results.

“When this occurs, a leader’s job is to help all involved realize that treating people with dignity by showing them respect is in everyone’s best interest – and to start behaving in this manner.

“The key is understanding how to do this by using these five maxims: listen with all your senses; ask, don’t tell others to do something; explain why they’re being asked; offer options, not threats; give a second chance.

“So, if you’re faced with conflict that’s getting out of control, there are many strategies for treating the involved parties with dignity – but your starting point should be to act according to those five maxims. If you do, you’ll find the results will be magical and result in a healthier bottom line.”

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