As a manager and leader, you need to be prepared to guide your team through difficult situations.
Conflict is an unfortunate but inevitable experience, no matter the workplace. As a manager and leader, you need to be prepared to guide your team through difficult situations.
What are some practical strategies you can implement as a leader to help your team?
Learn About Individuals
Conflict resolution starts with understanding the people on your team from many different angles before you tackle the issue at hand.
If your entire team takes an assessment, you will have the same information about everyone working together. You can pull data and compare how two conflicting individuals interact with each other— if someone has an Outgoing behavioral style and their desk-mate is
Reserved, there might be miscommunications and hurt feelings.
This information helps you as a leader to understand how to communicate with each team member. You will have the opportunity to address the problem individually, and then have them understand each other’s characteristics and styles. You can even create a comparison report to see where those two team members align and where there may be conflict.
Pick the Right Tools
There’s no surefire way to handle conflict, but when leaders base their thought processes, observations, and decisions on data rather than opinion, they are more likely to build trust and find lasting solutions.
Assessments can help you discover the different behavioral styles of each team member, what motivates them, and what they may be experiencing emotionally. All of those factors are measured in the TriMetrix EQ assessment. This kind of tool can provide valuable insights into the emotional dynamics of your team and help guide your approach to conflict resolution.
Address the Conflict Directly
After you have a fuller understanding of the issue at hand, it is essential to address it directly. For example, if two team members are constantly at odds, engaging in arguments, and failing to get along, tackling the conflict head-on can be the best approach.
As the manager, choose an optimal time to address the conflict and document the specifics of the discrepancies. When discussing the conflict with each team member separately, clearly communicate your goals for the conversation and your expectations for resolution.
This is where knowledge of the involved parties’ behavioral styles will come in handy— you can set up the discussion in their preferred environment, or at least find a compromise between the two if they are very different.
Make sure to follow up individually in their preferred communication method, be that email, on the phone, or in person. Encourage individual development as well as resolution as a team.
Build Trust with Better Communication
It is important to build trust between you and your team, making sure that each person feels seen and heard. Let them vent their frustrations in a safe environment with just you as the manager— the psychological space for them to vent freely will offer them the ability to articulate what the real issue is.
Oftentimes, what they think is the biggest conflict (presenting problem), could be stored-up resentment or a misunderstanding from the past that was never effectively addressed. Your job as the manager is to let each team member express their side, help them stay aligned with their values, and be bold, honest, and precise with how you will help them deal with the issue they are confronting moving forward.
Handling conflict well is a skill. There is no magic formula to getting better— it takes time and persistence to get to the root cause of why and how the conflict began. It takes patience and a positive attitude to resolve the issue. It is important to have an open discussion about the problem and then seek a win-win solution, where both parties walk away feeling valued and hopeful going forward.
Moving Forward With Conflict Resolution
Effectively managing team turmoil is an essential skill for leaders. By implementing practical solutions and strategies, you can create a harmonious work environment that promotes productivity and collaboration.
Remember, conflict is an opportunity for growth and improvement when addressed with empathy, active listening, and a focus on practical solutions. You can contribute to a positive and successful workplace culture by embracing these principles.
About the Author
Darcy Sisson loves to listen to the stories of others, and as a Solution Consultant, helps in any capacity that she can to bring clarity and solutions to the TTI SI network.