CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: SHE MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM!
By NICHOLAS C. HILL(FIC FInstLM)
A major misconception subscribed to by leaders is that everyone in their team should like each other in order to ensure utmost workplace productivity. The idea that one team member makes another one scream after ten minutes of conversation is ludicrous to such leaders. These leaders’ notion of conflict management is to expect, or worst, demand, each team member to get along with everyone else, regardless of their personal biases and backgrounds.
Although we cannot discount the advantages of a team comprised of people who feel a kindred spirit toward their colleagues, it is not exactly the benchmark for an efficient workplace environment. More important is that employees learn how to get past their differences and act in a mature and professional manner so as not to hamper team output. It is for this reason that conflict resolution is now often included as part of all good management courses.
In the end, there will always be that one person who will rub you the wrong way, and in order to deal with this person like a mature and deft leader, it is recommended you practise conflict management skills such as the ones listed below.
1. Become Impartial
Whenever you are confronted with an unacceptable and unbecoming behaviour, the first step to carry out is to rid yourself of your personal biases, which may lead to unconstructive criticisms, assumptions, and even finger pointing. The end goal of this confrontation is to determine the root cause of the questionable behaviour and, ideally, inspire positive change in the part of the erring employee. Resorting to a judgment-ridden type of confrontation can only lead to further relationship damage or rebellion, and such scenarios will pose further detriments to the team.
2. Listen Actively
Just because you listen actively and make a conscious effort to understand where an employee is coming from does not mean you are obliged to agree with his or her perspective in a given situation. Active listening aids a leader to grasp the facts of the issue being discussed and this, in itself, is a good way to start conflict management. The key is to arrive at a level of understanding, communicate this perception as clearly and as factually as possible, and give the employee a chance to either verify or challenge your notion. During conflict management, it is recommended to skip unsolicited advice and give the person involved the chance to volunteer a resolution instead.
3. Aim for the Win-Win
Conflict management, should always yield a win-win situation. Conflict resolution that puts one party at the losing end while giving the other a sense of triumph can be avoided by exhausting all possibilities through a sympathetic and flexible conflict management approach. Although, this does not mean you have to compromise so as everyone stays happy. Through keen observation, understanding, and analysis of the situation at hand, it is always possible to reach a solution agreeable to all parties involved.
The above list is not all-inclusive. For a more detailed approach and to expand your skills, please enquire about our leadership and management training courses. Courses are also available in Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Conflict management is one of the leadership skills that make or break a team. Managers can have business process aptitude or technological expertise but without enhanced conflict management skills the team is fated eventually to falter. Such competencies allow team members of the organisation to maintain a level of professionalism, which facilitates smooth delivery of individual as well as group responsibilities.
Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com