Some business leaders avoid conflict if they cannot determine an immediate benefit in resolving the issue at hand. Additionally, they may feel uncomfortable with confrontation. However, conflicts in the workplace are a reality; therefore, they also can present an opportunity for learning and improving work behavior, the work environment and your overall processes.
When a manager is extremely uncomfortable with confronting others directly, it can lead to confusion in the team or worse, a lack of respect. Furthermore, by not dealing with the issue or conflict, it tends to grow and worsen. And if it does, it can negatively affect your corporate culture.
With this in mind, here are four tips for creating opportunity from conflict from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Atlanta, Georgia:
1. Deal With Conflict Resolution Directly — Address an issue as soon as you encounter and identify it. This can prevent the problem from worsening and will prevent misunderstandings. If you can help conflicting employees see each others’ perspectives early on, it is easier to frame it as a learning experience.
2. Know the Difference Between Positive And Negative Stress — Positive stress—such as that associated with meeting a realistic deadline—is different from negative stress, say, generated from working with an emotionally abusive employee. If you can tell the difference between positive and negative stress, you will know when to simply coach an employee through a situation versus directly intervening.
Positive stress can cause a bit of tension, but generally it causes employees to remain dedicated to a task. Negative stress causes extreme irritability and results in hurt feelings and conflict.
3. Develop And Use Your Interpersonal Skills — If you relate well to others before a conflict even occurs, you have the best possible tool for dealing with issues when they do happen. If your team trusts and respects you, they will listen to you when it is time for you to step in and resolve a conflict.
4. Enhance And Utilize Your Communication Skills — Listen actively and let your employees understand that they are being heard. You can do this by reiterating their concerns in your responses. Use an objective perspective to avoid emotion and stick to fact-based solutions. Your calm and diplomatic demeanor will provide an example to your team.
Remember, when you deal with conflict directly, you have the opportunity to provide a teaching moment to the parties involved. Additionally, you will cut down on employee dissatisfaction, negative morale and decreases in production.
While it is easy to understand how conflict can create a divide between two coworkers, an effective leader can demonstrate the opportunity in such a situation. If you set the example, you can be the change you wish to see within your corporate culture.
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