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Human Capital Services

Human Capital Services
Kansas State University
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1810 Kerr Drive
Manhattan, KS 66506-4801

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Workplace Improvement Tips

Steps to Resolve Conflict – According to Dr. Joyce Marter

  1. In the heat of the moment take a moment to regroup, you want to avoid a knee jerk reaction.
  2. Try to view the conflict from a neutral place at a distance.  Who and what are you really mad at?
  3. Take responsibility, look at your own role in the conflict.
  4. Be aware of your non-verbal communication, what messages are you sending with hand gestures, facial expressions and body language.
  5. Do not attack the person’s character, do not show contempt, eye rolling, stop talking, taking the defense, seeing yourself as the victim.
  6. Demonstrate that you understand the person’s feelings, for example, “I can understand that you feel upset by that”.
  7. Stay in the present, don’t bring up old issues from the past.  Be clear, direct, and appropriate.
  8. Use “I messages” “I am upset that you come to work late”.
  9. Look for a “win-win”.  Listen to hear the other person.  Ask clarifying questions.
  10. Be willing to forgive.

Steps to Resolve a Conflict

  1. Think of a constructive way to deal with the situation before you speak
  2. Both people need to agree to ground rules:
    1. No interrupting
    2. No name calling or put downs
    3. Speak for yourself, not for the other person
  3. Each person takes turns to tell his/her view of the situation using I-messages while the other person uses active listening skills
  4. Both people suggest and list possible solutions
  5. Both agree on a resolution by choosing from list in step #4
  6. How did it go?  What might work better next time?

An “I” Message Has Four Parts

  1. “I feel…………….”      (State the feeling)
  2. “When you……….”      (Describe the other person’s behavior)
  3. “because………….”      (Describe the results of the other person’s behavior)
  4. “and I want……….”     (State what would correct the situation for you)

Ways to Actively Listen

  1. Clarify – get more information.  Ask questions.
  2. Restate – say in your own words what you heard the other person say, including their feelings.
  3. Encouraging – using neutral or nonthreatening words to help another person say more about the situation and how they feel.