When you got that big promotion to a managerial position at work, it was likely because you demonstrated a specific skill set related to the job and hopefully some leadership qualities, too. For many managers, it’s their ability to execute tasks, delegate, organize, and communicate that land them the job. But managing conflict in organizations is hardly ever front and center when factoring in a promotion.
Managing Conflict in Organizations
Managing conflict in organizations is something every manager will have to face at one point or another, whether or not they expect it. For this reason, it’s important that those in leadership roles tend to the nuances of navigating those difficult times. One commonly overlooked component of managing employee conflict is rapport building. If you’re in need of a starting guide for building rapport, look no further.
Find Common Ground
One way to build rapport is to find common ground. If this is outside of a conflict, you can find commonalities in work style, personality, hobbies, or communication style. If a conflict has already begun, finding common ground can look more like relating some experience you’ve had in the past to the one your disputing employee finds themselves in now. It’s important here not to take over the conversation with your own experience, or use your own experience against your employee, i.e. “I was able to get over it and resolve the tension, you should too.” Instead, use it to create a path of empathy where your employee can feel understood by you, and the tension may de-escalate somewhat from that alone. This makes managing conflict in organizations a bit easier. Conflict resolution training can help you strengthen this skill if you’re struggling here.
One of the biggest problems and challenges for mediators who are in management roles is balancing employee needs and business needs. Sometimes what’s required to solve the conflict takes away from productivity or resources otherwise needed for successful business operations. This could leave the manager trying to influence disputing employees to move on more quickly than they’re ready to or take on a stance that is inauthentic to them. It is always important to respect the individuality of your employees and that’s true especially when they’re in conflict. Validating individuality can build important trust and keep an employee from disconnecting or expressing an increase in anger.
Promote (and Engage in) Self-Awareness
There are many conflict resolution methods in the workplace and getting along with others is one simple but impactful way. One thing that’s important when discussing how to get along with others is being mindful of how we show up in these exchanges. It can be easy to point out the missteps of the other person but it’s equally important to recognize your own. Are you engaging in conversation in a way that makes it difficult to speak to you effectively? Are you behaving in a way at work that ignites tension, however subtly? Taking responsibility for your part in things, whether you’re involved in the conflict directly or just someone with a big influence on the company culture, is important when managing conflict in organizations.
Taking time to remember the human component of conflict can go a long way towards resolution. If building rapport is something you’ve been struggling with, you may benefit from the support of experienced professionals who can lead you in the right direction with training programs and conflict resolution services. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.