By | Published On: April 24, 2024 |

Feeling conflicted or in conflict with others isn’t just something that impacts your private life. As an executive, conflict is something you come across in your work life in all likelihood, whether it’s between team members, departments, or with external stakeholders.

How you handle these conflicts can significantly impact the organisation’s culture, productivity, and success.

Following on from the ideas I outline in this week’s video, here are some strategies that might help you manage conflicts.

Yes, these apply to you if you’re working in a medium-to-large business; however, they might be particularly valuable to you if you run a small business with a small team. Larger organisations will have the budget (or HR team!) to handle conflict in the workplace more readily than you.

If you’re leading a smaller team such as a family business, these strategies are just as important and applicable. I hope they help and give you food for thought.

1. Promote open communication

Encourage a culture of open communication where team members feel comfortable expressing their concerns and opinions. Create channels for feedback and really make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

2. Lead by example

Model positive conflict resolution behaviours, such as active listening, empathy, and respectful communication. Demonstrate a willingness to address conflicts directly and transparently (and remember to always keep your cool!!).

3. Address issues promptly

Don’t let conflicts fester or escalate. Address them promptly before they have a chance to negatively impact morale or productivity. Deal with conflicts directly and proactively to prevent them from becoming more significant issues.

4. Seek to understand

Take the time to understand the root causes of conflicts and the perspectives of everyone involved. Ask questions, listen actively, and show empathy to gain a deeper understanding of the situation.

5. Focus on solutions, not blame

Shift the focus away from assigning blame and towards finding solutions that benefit the organisation as a whole. Encourage collaborative problem-solving and brainstorming to identify mutually acceptable resolutions.

6. Always remain neutral and impartial

You should strive to remain neutral and impartial when mediating conflicts. Avoid taking sides or showing favouritism, and instead, focus on facilitating a fair and constructive resolution.

7. Use mediation or facilitation techniques

In more complex or entrenched conflicts, consider bringing in a neutral third party to facilitate discussions and mediate a resolution. A skilled mediator can help uncover underlying issues and guide the parties towards a mutually beneficial agreement. Remember: it’s better to let the professionals handle it if you are in any doubt as to your ability to handle the situation effectively.

8. Set clear expectations

Clearly communicate the organisation’s values, expectations, and conflict resolution processes to all employees. Provide training and resources to help team members develop their conflict resolution skills.

9. Encourage collaboration and compromise

Encourage a collaborative approach to conflict resolution, where parties work together to find win-win solutions. Emphasise the importance of compromise and flexibility in reaching agreements that address everyone’s needs.

10. Follow up and monitor progress

After a conflict has been resolved, follow up with the parties involved to ensure that the agreed-upon solutions are implemented effectively. Monitor progress and be prepared to intervene if conflicts resurface or new issues arise.

If you can follow these strategies, you will find that you can create a positive work environment where conflicts are addressed constructively and contribute to the organisation’s growth and success.