When in a leadership position, you need to be able to quickly and effectively manage conflict. This conflict can be between you and another leader, two of your employees, an employee and a client, or many other things. When problems occur in the workplace, they begin to affect everyone, even those not directly involved. This can lead to a negative environment that isn’t conducive to healthy working conditions. So how can leaders go about handling conflict in the workplace?
Examine the Situation
As a leader, you have a responsibility to find a solution to a conflict as quickly as possible. This can be done by taking notice of the situation before it occurs. For instance, talking with team members who seem to butt heads may improve the situation. If you find yourself intervening in a conflict, taking a look at the situation beforehand can help you prepare potential solutions to bring to the table before you sit down with the clashing team members.
If you begin to see behavior in your team that could lead to potential conflicts, try setting rules that will encourage a more welcoming work environment. For instance, you can establish a system of accountability for team members who make mistakes. By giving a clear and concise set of guidelines for appropriate work behavior, you could potentially nip many conflicts in the bud before they even have the chance to happen.
Acknowledge Why Conflict Happens
Things you can’t control have a high chance of causing a shift in the mood of your team. Understanding the various factors that can affect a conflict can help you prevent it from happening. For instance, if a change in the company’s procedures is affecting some team members, they might need help adjusting. This can be done by creating a training program for those who need more help adjusting. This can improve morale and put everyone on the same page, meaning less of a chance for conflict to emerge.
Don’t Take Sides
One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to resolving a conflict is that your team members don’t feel that you’re working against them. You can’t pick sides, or even give either side the chance to think you’re doing so. Be sure to let each party know that you want to find a solution that works for both sides, as this will help them build trust in you and maybe even prevent further conflicts.