Managing conflict in the workplace can be an added stressor that many leaders might not always have the time, energy, and expertise to handle. However, even though managing conflict at work might not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, it is a critical component of a healthy and effective work environment for all involved. Learning how to manage conflict as a leader has big payoffs.
Managing conflict in the workplace isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a critical component to workplace leadership, and implementing the proper strategies can do wonders for the company. Conflict has a tendency to destroy morale which depletes employee motivation and productivity. Conflict can also create HR situations that become distractions from the work at hand. So, exercising your leadership skills in the area of conflict management is highly recommended. Here are 5 simple steps to begin managing the issue.
When you first learn how to manage conflict in the workplace, you want to take an objective listening stance. Gather data from the involved parties as well as from witnesses (if any) to corroborate each report and help the truth come to the forefront.
When managing conflict in the workplace, it can be tempting to rely upon pre-existing relationships with the involved parties in an effort to inform your approach. You might find yourself giving favor to one person over the other based on who they typically are as a person. And it’s not to say that isn’t helpful information to have, but keep your main focus on the behaviors and events being reported during this conflict; otherwise, you might find yourself responding inappropriately to a situation that needs your objective analysis.
Have the disputing parties explore and name what points they agree and disagree on. This can help feuding employees understand that they can find some middle ground on which to meet. Managing conflict at work isn’t always about a leader stepping in and making changes. In fact, the most effective conflict management requires the disputing individuals put in much of the effort to own their behaviors and troubleshoot them.
When you’re learning how to manage conflict in the workplace, it’s fair to say the first thing you’ll come across is a means of assessing for safety. Prioritize areas of conflict based on the most likely one to create a security or personnel problem, and then work your way down to the little things that don’t have too much impact.
Once the areas of conflict are in their right order, develop a plan for troubleshooting the issues. This plan should be created by the involved parties as much as by the leader or manager taking charge of the mediation. That way your employees have some buy-in to the work ahead while also finding creative ways for them to collaborate.
If you need help improving your leadership approach to managing conflict in the workplace, Pollack Peacebuilding can help. We work with individuals and groups to collaborate on solutions to common interpersonal ruptures, helping workplaces build positive foundations on which to build their teams. Contact us today!