When different personalities, generations, genders and cultures work together on a daily basis with different viewpoints, priorities and communication methods, conflict is inevitable.
So how do you prepare, manage and solve conflict effectively in the workplace? Here are my top tips for addressing conflict within your team.
1. Acknowledge the conflict
The first step in dealing with workplace conflict is to acknowledge its existence. Too often conflict is left unaddressed. While there are instances where you should wait to intervene as a leader when conflict is escalating you need to acknowledge it and discuss it straight away….
2. Uncover the solution
You have probably heard the saying “there are always three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.” Most people’s perception of what is causing the conflict will be their reality, so the challenge you are tasked with is to help all parties to see the others viewpoint.
This may require you to mediate and guide your team through the process of understanding the others point of view and negotiating to find the way forward. Most people do not like conflict, but having a trusted leader who can validate both sides and help them work towards a solution is appreciated and valued.
3. Address important issues
Throughout this process, you may find that there are behaviours and issues like bullying, harassment, threats, or other inappropriate conduct that will need to be addressed in a more formal matter. If this is the case, it is important to deal with these issues in a timely and appropriate manner.
4. Turn conflict into opportunity
Often conflict is the breeding ground for great ideas and improvements, and it also has a habit of uncovering the expertise, resilience and leadership in employees. To turn conflict into an opportunity, you want to ask some very pertinent questions like:
• How can we avoid these same issues in the future?
• What can we do to improve the communication, collaboration and culture within our organisation?
• How can we minimise the stress experienced by employees in situations like this?
• Could we implement any processes or systems to help with any of the issues we have faced?
• What ideas and solutions have come out of this and how can we implement them in our business?
5. Where required talk to your team
It might be important to talk about this with the team, especially if others are involved. As a leader you need to be aware of what you talk to them about, they might not need to know full details so ensure that you provide relevant and necessary information.
These leading questions facilitate brainstorming and bring your team back together through the power of collaboration and open and honest communication.
Effectively address conflict
How do you handle conflict in your workplace?
Thank you for reading! I’m Kylie Denton, a qualified Organisational and Leadership Coach. If you want more tips delivered to your inbox sign up for email updates above and be sure to connect with me on Email, LinkedIn and Twitter.