Conflict management skills in the workplace are among the essential tools leaders need for happy, harmonious work environments. Such skills are typically acquired over time through research, such as learning about successful leaders and how they handle conflicts, as well as educational courses that allow you to exercise management skills in real-life scenarios. To help you with your conflict management education, take a moment to review common skills capable team leaders put into practice.Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict
One of the keys to effective conflict management is ensuring the parties do not feel one side is favored over the other. Successful team leaders are able to put themselves in the proverbial shoes of the employees involved in the conflict and think about how they would feel in that situation. Empathy gives people the ability to consider the wants and needs of others, while also recognizing issues those in questions might find hurtful. Being empathetic additionally means remaining open to the opinions of others and accepting feedback.
Emotional reactions and inflammatory statements are just some of the ways to make a tense workplace situation worse. Conflict management skills in the workplace therefore include controlling emotions, or remaining level-headed. By refraining from speaking from an emotional place, such as irritation, annoyance, or anger, you have greater control over the situation and can diffuse it, such as suggesting the coworkers return to their desks and take several deep breaths. Not showing emotion during a workplace conflict also avoids favoritism accusations that can make the problem more challenging to solve. If neither party can accuse you or other managers of favoring the other, their receptive abilities can improve.
When employees have issues they need management help to solve, they want to feel heard and respected. Active listening checks both of these boxes, as it demonstrates the manager’s dedication to employees wellness and finding a solution. It can involve speaking one-on-one in a conference room, putting devices on mute, and asking questions as necessary. The employee should feel like you are listening solely to them, not distracted by emails or fellow managers. By showing respect in this way, you will earn their respect in return.
Brainstorming “on the fly” is another conflict management skill that contributes to a harmonious, healthy workplace. It helps solve conflicts quickly, which mitigates further tension and helps everyone involved get back to work. For example, maybe you and fellow managers are good at quickly thinking up solutions to minor work “scuffles.” Perhaps developing the ability to think beyond the scope of the issue and providing a long-term solution is a goal. No matter what avenues you take to find solutions relatively quickly, your team will appreciate your dedication.
Team leaders who routinely diffuse conflicts often have positive attitudes that help dampen hurt or irritated feelings. They are genuine individuals who are real and honest about workplace problems, instead of pandering to certain people or displaying a surface interest in the issue. Showing genuine dedication to identifying the problem and finding a solution that suits all parties is something that team members recognize and appreciate. It, along with other conflict management skills in the workplace, help avoid high turnover rates and the reputation problems that follow. Instead, the work environment stays a healthy place that people want to work in.
Conflict management skill development takes time, but is something you will take with you for the rest of your professional life. It will also help you in your personal life, which contributes to healthier relationships with family and friends. In short, there is no negative to cultivating these skills!
For more about conflict management skills in the workplace, contact Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions today.