“A part of effective leadership is caring for and supporting one another, even when there is a conflict or a difference of opinion.” -Ty Howard
We are all social beings with different perspectives and points of view. We may not always agree with each other and that may lead to situations of conflict.
Conflict should not be perceived as either good or evil; rather, it may be seen as necessary to aid in the development of deep connections between individuals and organizations. Whether a disagreement is constructive or destructive will depend on the methods used and how it is managed. Conflict may lead to beneficial opportunities and progress toward a shared objective, but it can also destroy relationships and produce undesirable results.
Every agency, institution, and country experiences conflict, disagreements, and change on a regular basis. An organization that can manage its conflicts without the situation getting ugly can be said to be thriving under the right kind of leadership. This is where effective Conflict Resolution comes in.
What exactly is Conflict Resolution?
The practice of conflict resolution is about knowing how to recognize problems and handle them in a reasonable, equitable, and effective manner. It is the process of resolving (seen) conflicts or differences resulting from, for instance, different ideas, goals, and wants.
In the modern world, employers choose to work with people from different cultural and intellectual backgrounds as well as with different points of view. Disagreements are inevitable in a workplace when individuals approach the same issues from different perspectives. Therefore, a good conflict management strategy can actually differentiate a good business from a bad one.
When it comes to managing conflict in the workplace, the role of a leader becomes critically important. A leader who can drive a workplace conflict to a middle ground without letting any of the parties down can actually steer the entire organization toward a healthy work environment.
What is the relationship between Conflict Management and Leadership?
Even if they are rare, conflicts can nevertheless happen when managing a team. It's critical for a leader to comprehend his/her function in handling these disagreements. Understanding the connection between conflict management and leadership may help one spot impending problems, stave them off, or settle them when necessary.
Leaders who successfully manage conflict can uphold company productivity and morale easily. When managing a team, there are often two sorts of conflict that might arise:
- Team members' disagreements over agreed-upon objectives or how to achieve them
- Disputes involving individual team members
For any organization to succeed, the team members must be on the same page when it comes to task management and their manner f completion. Also, since the team members work together, it is important for individual team members to get along well. Therefore, a good leader not only ensures that the team members agree on the manner of reaching company goals but also identifies potential conflicts between team members and resolves them before it comes in the way of project completion. Therefore, good conflict management skills can help a leader to lead the organization as a single cohesive unit that moves forward together, supporting and uplifting each other.
Effective conflict management offers a few advantages beyond merely settling problems. The following are some advantages of effective conflict management:
1. Stronger Targets and Enhanced Procedures
Finding places for improvement is possible when a team member's disagreement with a goal or the means of reaching it is resolved. You may allow team members to provide suggestions on how to settle conflicts by employing a constructive technique of conflict management that encourages open communication about difficulties. You may learn whether there is a chance for similar disagreements inside your team by using their insights on settling disputes.
You may also learn how to reinforce your specified goals or find methods to enhance your present procedures using this strategy. By doing this, you may accomplish your objectives more quickly and avoid further disputes.
2. Increased Cooperation
When team members are at odds with one another, it might be important to create an environment where everyone can come to an amicable resolution. By settling disputes between two or more team members, you may assist them in finding methods of cooperation that boost spirits and output. Some of these ideas may even be used by the rest of the team, strengthening it as a whole as it works together to achieve common objectives.
3. Avoiding further Conflicts
You may identify trends that could result in conflict and use prior solutions to stop them from happening again by knowing conflict management and continually seeking constructive solutions. This promotes team morale and even boosts a team's respect for management while ensuring that a project can move forward as planned.
How to Manage Conflicts as a Leader?
We have talked at length about the importance of Conflict Management for an organization and a leader. Let us now discuss some practical tips for effective Conflict Management in the workplace.
1. Watch out for conflict
Finding a solution as soon as feasible is a leader's responsibility in conflict management. This occasionally entails spotting a possible dispute before it happens. A scenario may be improved, for instance, by talking to team members who appear to fight or helping a team member better grasp a procedure they may be having issues with.
Assessing the scenario in advance will help you create solutions for meetings with disputing team members if you interfere in an ongoing argument.
2. Approach confrontation with consideration and reason.
Remain composed and make sure you can tackle the problem with thought, reason, and objectivity. If you personally have a stake inyou might need to ask someone else to take care of it. Stay away from the urge to respond in a "fight or flight" manner.
Not all disputes call for involvement. Conflicts can occasionally be settled by team members individually, or they may be small enough to not disrupt work. Think about getting involved only if a disagreement isn't resolved by the disputing team members or if it lasts long enough that assistance is required.
3. Identify the sources of conflict
Your workplace's morale might change as a result of external factors. You can avoid problems by being aware of certain sources of conflict. For instance, certain team members might need assistance adjusting if business procedures change, while others might not. Establishing a training program to assist people who seek direction can boost morale and lessen the likelihood of a dispute arising.
4. Look into the situation for facts
Spend some time learning about what occurred, who was involved, how individuals are feeling, and the underlying issues. Avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. Speak with each person separately and in confidence, and pay close attention to what they say so you can grasp it.
Look for any underlying factors contributing to the disagreement that might not be visible at first. For instance, a staff member may appear to be at odds with their coworkers, but the real issue is that they believe their boss is treating them unjustly. Be mindful that the parties involved could view the same issue differently.
5. Consider Everyone’s Points of View
You might be able to find a workable solution if you can bring the parties together. Establish ground rules for the discussion and approach it with a cheerful, cordial, and non-aggressive attitude. The parties will be more likely to voice their opinions honestly and freely, comprehend the root of the issue, and come up with solutions if they act assertively.
Ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns. If people believe their concerns have been heard and their point of view has been appreciated, they will be more prepared to give up rigid beliefs and contemplate a compromise.
6. Identify choices, then decide on a course of action.
The most crucial and frequently most challenging step in the procedure is this. Reaching consensus could be facilitated by the actions listed below:
- Establish a setting where everyone can communicate honestly and freely.
- Recognize any emotional problems because they are frequently the root of the problem and must be dealt with.
- Carefully consider how much control over the meeting and conversation you actually need.
- Examine the disagreement's causes.
- Determine any misunderstandings or assumptions that are impeding development.
- Encourage the parties to consider their own stances and find any areas of agreement with other parties.
- Look for areas where there may be room for negotiation and look for win-win solutions that take into consideration the interests of all parties.
- Request preferred solutions from the parties.
- Give yourself time to contemplate.
- Evaluate each choice and assist the parties in deciding which is the best course of action.
- Ensure that all parties are committed to any agreement and decide on a review point.
7. Establish Boundaries
While resolving problems, take into consideration establishing workplace boundaries. This can assist your team members in acting in a way that prevents conflict. By upholding these boundaries while seeking a resolution, the opposing team members may be made to respect one another and learn about the behaviors that went too far and caused the conflict. Making sure that only those people involved in a problem may discuss it is one way to set boundaries in the workplace.
8. Setting Objectives
Understanding what each party wants from a prospective resolution is beneficial. As their boss, you might want to set goals for a successful or enjoyable workplace. Finding a win-win solution to issues may be made easier for team members by understanding one another's objectives.