Conflict conversations are in the fourth stage of Glasl’s Escalation Model. The model provides a structured approach to conflict resolution and emphasizes the importance of addressing conflicts in their early stages to prevent them from becoming more destructive and challenging to resolve.
Conflict conversations represent the highest escalation level before a formal warning. They involve addressing specific misconduct, establishing clear solutions, and outlining consequences in the event of repeated rule violations.
When Is a Conflict Conversation Necessary?
A conflict conversation becomes necessary when specific agreements from a prior constructive critique conversation are not upheld. Until now, a significant portion of the responsibility for resolving the issue rested with the leader (support, resources, relief). In a conflict conversation, the responsibility shifts to the employee. In cases where no improvement occurs, clear consequences are defined in conflict conversations.
Content of a Conflict Conversation
A conflict conversation is an extension of a critique conversation, supplemented with clear consequences if a resolution is not achieved. „Conflict“ here does not mean that there is an argument or dispute with the employee. It means that there is a conflict between the agreed-upon objectives and the actual behavior. This conflict must be resolved (ideally with the employee), and if this is not possible, an alternative solution (consequence) must be found (in extreme cases, without the involvement of the employee).
Consequences of a Conflict Conversation
The internal attitude can remain solution-oriented and optimistic even in a conflict conversation. However, it must also be made clear that clear consequences are necessary, and the responsibility lies with the other person.
The message is: „The company requires a specific performance, and it’s up to you to deliver that performance.“
„Consequence“ here does not mean „punishment“ but rather a factual outcome if the agreed-upon behavior is not implemented again:
- Collaboration on the project will be terminated, including the double workload.
- An agreed performance bonus cannot be achieved if the annual goal is not met.
- Training may be postponed to avoid double burdens.
- A probationary period may be extended.
- A fixed-term employment contract may not be renewed.
- A promotion may be postponed.