Conflict Resolution for Managers
As a project manager or an organisational leader, you are responsible for maintaining healthy work environment. Conflict resolution skills are vital for company’s success and positive culture. Intervening into interpersonal conflict in respectful way will boost your confidence and make relationships stronger. Build your conflict resolution skills with these tips and techniques.
- Acknowledge there is a conflict. Learn how to deal with it; don’t avoid it. Interpersonal conflicts don’t go away by themselves. Even when the conflict seems to be resolved on the surface, it will rear at the worst possible moment.
- When managing conflict, stay focused and in control. Don’t let your emotions overwhelm you. You have to be able to stay non-judgemental. Staying in control of your emotions will enable you to communicate without threatening or punishing. Be clear, calm and professional.
- Speak to everyone involved at the same time. Gather your employees together and hear everyone out. Don’t just listen to what is being said – try to hear the actual meaning and observe non-verbal body language.
- Stay in touch with your own feelings. Emotional awareness is one of the major keys to resolving conflicts. If you understand your own feelings and emotions, you will find it easy to connect to feelings of other’s. Don’t just rely on rationality, always remember about strong emotions.
- Stay motivated throughout the whole process of conflict resolution. You are a role model for the others. If you show your employees that you are genuinely determined to resolve misunderstandings in a fair way, then they will be more willing to cooperate.
- Pay attention to nonverbal communication. Observe face expressions, body posture, gestures and tone of voice. Understand what is not being said, what your employees actually feel, not just what they say.
- Don’t laugh at the other people, laugh with them. Humour can take the tension and anger away. If you are finding it difficult to express your concerns in a serious manner, then bring some joy to the discussion. Use humour to turn conflicts into opportunities to build personal relationships.
- Always remember that the main goal of the conflict resolution is to strengthen the relationship, not to just win. Be willing to forgive and forget. If you are holding a grudge for old misunderstanding, you will be judgemental, irrational and unfair.
- Show your diplomatic skills – confidence, tact and maturity. Don’t jump to quick conclusions. Know what to say and when. Respect everyone’s feelings and opinions. Try to maintain professional relationships throughout all the stages of conflict resolution process.
- Be willing to compromise and to negotiate before, during and after. Separate people from the problem. Personal attacks are unacceptable. Agree on the common goal of the conflict resolution. Strong negotiation skills will help you come to a mutual agreement, beneficial to all parties.
- Choose your own conflict management approach. Every conflict has a different nature, timescale and resources. Assess the scale of the conflict and adopt the most suitable approach to resolve an issue.
- Remember that withdrawal from the conflict resolution is the worst tactics. You cannot just step aside and let your employees deal with the problem. You have to act as the mediator between the conflict and successful resolution.
- If the conflict cannot be resolved due to various factors, which you cannot control, seek help from another authority figure in your organisation. Stay professional, realistic and rational at all times/ .