The aroma of fresh ground coffee can prove irresistible. It evokes a deep sense of relaxation in me.
The only caveat is that its quality must be right. I don’t particularly appreciate the acrid taste of over-roasted beans.
Poorly roasted coffee beans are an assault on my taste buds. This when combined with the smokey smell of the burnt grind to evoke an emotional response. Immediately, my face contorts in protest.
At that moment, all systems activate to resolve this conflict. I will either request for a fresh cup of coffee or order another drink. The coffee barrister has to accept their poor choice of beans. I, on the other hand, need to give them an opportunity to redeem themselves. And this is the key to resolving conflict.
We can learn a great deal about conflict resolution from Starbucks Coffee Company. In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes how Starbucks’ employees undergo rigorous training to respond to customer needs. It is called the LATTE method.
We Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explain why the problem occurred.”
If we were to apply Starbucks’ LATTE method to our leadership, how would that look like?
Listening is the first step towards any conflict resolution. Why? Because listening compels us to control our emotions, remain rational and deal with assumptions. It gives the other party an opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment. Listening earns us the legitimacy to express our thoughts and opinions.
This is a deep understanding of the existence of the conflict. By acknowledging a complaint, it becomes possible for both parties to connect. The aggrieved person gets an opportunity to offer forgiveness. Both parties can now view the conflict from a common lens. And this gives them a platform to take action to resolve the conflict.
3. Take action
Accept and move on. This is the most difficult part in conflict resolution. It is at this stage that ego fights to take over. To solve the problem, the party on the wrong has to cross the line of resolution. The other party has a part to play too! They must embrace the spirit of resolution.
It is important to show gratitude for the opportunity to deal with conflict. When we thank somebody from the heart, it reinforces that relationship. Thankfulness creates an environment of mutual respect.
Finally, take time to explain why the problem occurred. This is a critical step to learn from the problem. Both parties explore what precipitated and escalated the problem in the first place. In essence, everyone learns
Life is constantly teaching us that we are mirrors of one another and that no one is an island!” ~Auliq Ice
Q: How will this 5-step process help you with conflict resolution? Have your say by clicking here.