Currency:

Managing Conflict

Posted July 29th, 2013

Disagreement and conflict are
perfectly natural occurrences in any organisation or team where people care
about the issues. In fact, you should probably worry where conflict does not
occur as it could mean that your employees do not care enough about the job.

Of course, no matter how usual
conflict is, it can still be very difficult to deal with and can cause stress and
concern for even the best manager. However, if you learn how to handle conflict
effectively you can significantly reduce the frequency and seriousness of any
disagreement.

 

Disagreement and conflict can be a
really positive starting point for creating new ideas and developing different
ways of working. Some useful tips to consider are…

 

Never Avoid

 

Conflicts are how priorities get
set and decisions get made. It allows communication around issues that might
otherwise get neglected and cause negativity and underlying tensions. A good
manager will embrace negativity and use it to develop their interpersonal
skills and create an inclusive culture.

 

Depersonalise It

 

Don’t take conflict personally,
even if the person causing the conflict means it that way. Focus on the
interests and issues involved and resolve things from that perspective.

 

Detach Yourself

 

Take an unemotional approach to
the issues and observe from a detached position. If you lose your temper, you
will lose credibility and people will not respect any decision you then
identify. You may have some very strong feelings inside and want to explode,
but remain focused and stay calm on the outside.

 

It can be tempting to use your
power as a manager to make a unilateral decision quickly when conflict occurs.
You should explore the position of those involved in the conflict and try to
truly understand the viewpoints of those involved before you respond.

 

There will be times when conflict
does become emotional and come to be difficult to deal with. When this occurs,
the following simple model can help to diffuse situations and ensure you
approach the problem positively.

 

There is a temptation to move
straight to resolving a problem when conflict becomes emotional. However, this
is rarely the best method of reducing the conflict as the individuals emotions
will always get in the way. Therefore, you must first diffuse the person’s
anger by providing empathy to their concerns. This means really seeing things
from their point of view and stating that.

 

Once you have defused the
emotions and demonstrated that you understand you can move on to agreeing what
the problem is without the emotional element attached. This helps you to
resolve the way forward.

 

At this point it is probably
worth reminding ourselves of the old saying, ‘Win a friend, not the argument’.
This is a short extract from the ‘Managing Performance’ training course materials, which are available from the Trainer Bubble website. Visit www.trainerbubble.com today to find out more.

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