Conflicts in workplaces are inevitable. People from different backgrounds come to work together. These individuals have different priorities and values, and most resist change.
Conflicts are always uncomfortable for most individuals in both professional and personal contexts. However, learning to handle conflicts - especially in a work setting - healthily and productively is highly essential.
Learning strategies for resolving conflicts is an essential part of leadership. With effective conflict management strategies, workplace conflicts can easily be handled.
Conflict resolution is a skill which is learnt best with experience and practice.
However, starting with some familiar and effective conflict resolution strategies will lay a solid foundation to work from for the upcoming years.
This blog will discuss the different conflict resolution strategies managers and those in leadership roles must learn. Enrolling in a general management programme can also help you understand the techniques.
What is conflict, and why does it happen?
Conflict can be defined as a process which unfolds when two or more individuals' interests are not in alignment with each other. A conflict can also happen because of social status, cultural beliefs, an individual’s biases etc.
In a work setting, conflicts of opinions, interests, beliefs and desires can escalate to serious arguments harming team bonds if not dealt with properly.
These issues mainly occur when individuals with conflicting points of view have to reach an agreement. Individuals on teams have different needs and goals and don’t always align.
Conflicts in the workplace can also occur because of poor communication. Unfulfilled expectations and crossed boundaries occur when teams donot prioritise open communication.
The best way to avoid conflicts is to create a work culture where people can communicate their interests, needs, feelings, thoughts, emotions and opinions honestly and transparently.
Why is conflict management essential for leaders?
Effective conflict management allows leaders to create a team of members working together to develop strategies, achieve goals and streamline processes.
When a team is built with individuals with varying personalities, it creates a potential for conflict. However, with proper knowledge and understanding of conflict management skills, managers can resolve conflicts quickly when they happen or avoid them altogether.
With effective conflict management, you can get a few more benefits, such as:
1. Improvement in processes
Resolving any conflict a team member might have with the goals or how to achieve them helps find areas for improvement. As a leader, allow members to offer opinions and thoughts on resolving issues using a positive conflict management method.
Using feedback to solve conflicts can help judge whether there is any potential for similar conflicts in the team.
Leaders can find ways to improve the current processes and make their assigned goals stronger. This will help prevent other issues and quickly achieve your goals.
2. Better teamwork
When there is a conflict between team members, it is best to work on achieving a solution favourable for all parties involved.
When a conflict between two or more members is resolved, push them to find ways to collaborate, improving productivity and morale. As the team works towards a common goal, implement some of these solutions throughout the rest of the team to strengthen it.
3. Stop any future conflicts
By adequately understanding conflict management and finding positive solutions, leaders can recognise patterns that may lead to a conflict. Managers can implement previous solutions to prevent such conflicts from reoccurring.
This guarantees that the project can progress on schedule, heightens the team's morale and improves respect for the management.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Effective conflict management comes with adequately understanding and implementing conflict management strategies. Learn about conflict resolution strategies from a well-designed general management programme. Listed here are the top five conflict resolution techniques.
1. Don’t neglect conflict
Ignoring conflict is never the way to resolve it. On the contrary, often, this will worsen the situation.
With neglected conflict, things fester with time and tend to reappear in the future. Hence, for the betterment of the team, as a team leader, address conflicts as and when they occur. It is best to handle a potential conflict as soon as you recognise it.
2. Clarify the issue
When dealing with a conflict involving two team members, it is essential that leaders first get all the facts. Sit down with both parties involved and uncover the actual issue.
It is essential to gain the trust of involved parties, so they accept you as the impartial mediator and feel comfortable sharing sensitive information.
3. Make the involved parties talk
Once you have personally spoken to all the involved parties, make them sit together for a meeting to hash out the differences in a neutral setting.
In this meeting, the goal is to brainstorm, actively listen and be open to different perspectives. The parties should agree on a common ground of the issue, what role each person has played in the conflict and what possible solutions might be.
4. Come up with a solution
Once all the involved parties have had the chance to discuss any conflict, it’s time to discover satisfactory resolutions and how you can achieve them. It is expected that the parties will understand each other’s perspectives and that the conflict will be resolved.
However, if the situation needs further resolution, the leader must step in and negotiate a reasonable solution. This stage might take some time as both parties must find common ground by setting aside their preferences and differences.
5. Keep monitoring and follow up on the conflict
As a team leader, it is your job to check in with all the involved parties to make sure that the issue has been dealt with adequately and steps suggested to reach the solutions are being followed.
If everything is going smoothly, at times, stop and observe to see if things function smoothly in the long run.
To become a successful leader, it is essential to understand and implement conflict management strategies to run a successful team and maintain harmony in the workplace. Consider enrolling in a general management course online to bolster your career further as a manager.
Become a well-established leader or manager with Imarticus’s 22nd General Management programme in Dubai. This course will improve your managerial capabilities and prepare you for future management responsibilities.