4 Ways Leaders Effectively Manage Employee Conflict

Published: July 3, 2020 | Last Updated: August 8, 2023by Vanessa Rose

Conflict can happen anywhere, anytime. If you’re in a leadership role at your workplace, or hope to be, there are certain expectations for you when conflict arises. It can feel overwhelming, or even annoying to have to channel your energy toward conflict resolution when you have so much else on your plate. But conflict resolution doesn’t have to be the impossible feat it may feel like. Here are 4 ways leaders effectively manage employee conflict that may help you brush up on your skills.

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4 Ways Leaders Effectively Manage Employee Conflict

Avoiding conflict in the workplace is the best solution, if you can come by it. In order to avoid conflict, an effective environment needs to be cultivated and appropriate skills need to be on standby ready to de-escalate issues as they arise. When that fails and disputes emerge, try these 4 ways leaders effectively manage employee conflict.

1. Diagnose the Conflict

Before solutions can be entertained, the conflict itself must first be identified and understood. As a leader, you should take care to listen to each side of the conflict to ensure you have as much information as possible. Remain objective and remain sensitive to the emotional experiences of those involved. Make sure everyone is clear on the exact problem so that solutions can be effective and targeted.

2. Maintain Boundaries

The second of the 4 ways leaders effectively manage employee conflict requires a bit of self-awareness. Leaders are often needed to assist others in navigating conflict resolution and one important step to take in that process is to maintain boundaries. The self-awareness required here can help prevent the leader from crossing lines that could escalate tension rather than quell it. This can especially be true when facing leadership conflicts in the workplace and the two parties you’re trying to de-escalate are peers or managers.

3. Respect Differences

Learning how to resolve employee conflict requires attunement to the nuances of human experiences that may not have come with your job training. Conflict tends to put the spotlight on the differences that exist between employees, whether those differences be cultural, or related to work ethic or personality.

Someone taking the lead on conflict resolution will want to begin by respecting the differences established between conflicting parties while being sure not to side with one person or the other. Appreciating the unique gifts of everyone that contributes to the team is an important component of leadership that can not only help de-escalate conflict that has already been sparked, it can decrease the chances of conflict beginning. Cultivating a company culture that celebrates and respects differences rather than keeping people polarized and needlessly competitive can help sustain peace in the long run.

4. Identify a Goal

When managing employee conflict, you want to address the emotions that each party is experiencing which may help soothe any major dysregulation. Encouraging and supporting two employees in conflict to brainstorm and collaborate on solutions to their problem can be helpful in the right circumstances. But identifying a higher-level goal can be the way leadership models effective objective-setting while also providing the kind of direction often needed to contain dysregulating occurrences.

If these 4 ways leaders effectively manage employee conflict have left you wanting more information on how to better resolve conflict at work, get training and support from the experienced professionals who can provide new solutions and skills. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your future as a leader.

4 Ways Leaders Effectively Manage Employee Conflict

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Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.