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We can’t pretend that there will never be conflict at work. That is unreasonable. However, we can be prepared on how to manage the conflict when it does arise.
1. Expect Conflict
Conflict will occur. Expect them. Up to 85% of employees expected some form of workplace conflict in a CPP study. With those statistics, leaders should prepare themselves to handle conflict.
When conflict occurs address it immediately. It doesn’t go away if you ignore it!
Conflict, if managed correctly, can lead to improving the environment, strengthening relationships and unearthing creative solutions. If not managed, conflict leads to decreased productivity and morale, increased absenteeism and job turnover.
2. Be Proactive
Before conflicts arise, talk to your staff about possible issues before they become full-blown conflicts. Being proactive can stop the conflict before it happens. Which is better for everyone.
3. Listen to all sides
Listening to everyone without judgment goes a long way in diffusing conflict. There are multiple perspectives on the issue. Use the listening techniques that we’ve talked about before including paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues, clarifying, summarizing, paraphrasing, reflecting feelings, uncovering values, balancing asking questions & advocating, and using appropriate non-verbal cues like eye contact, nodding & leaning forward.
Read two of my other blogs to improve your listening skills:
The lost art of listening
5 keys to effective communication
4. Discover best result together
Finding common ground is a great place to start negotiations. Discover where all parties can agree on shared goals. Using Systems Thinking, you might have to get above the current system (the parties in conflict) to a larger system (i.e. the department or company).
Bring is an experienced negotiator or mediator if you feel the conflict can’t be solved. They have a unique set of skills to help find an agreement.
Resolving conflict is not easy, but it is a skill that all leaders should possess. If you’d like to strengthen that skill contact me: Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com I’ve coached others to gain this competency.
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