9 Practical Tips for Workplace Conflict Management

June 27, 2016 by  

Organizational conflicts arise when there is disharmony between employees and managers or between managers and outside forces. People espouse differing ideologies and perceptions. They react to situations in different ways depending on their own life experiences. These differences can cause emotional clashes and miscommunications which result in conflict, disappointment, resentment, confusion, and complaining. In some cases, differing perspectives, if handled respectfully, can provide some positive outcomes; such as developing new ideas for resolution, or learning more about another’s point of view.  Sadly, more often it has a negative impact on the welfare of the organization, especially if it is not handled respectfully and honestly.

In most organizations, it is the managerial staff (or the HR staff), who are responsible for handling conflicts and they need to have the tools to be able to find creative solutions for these difficult issues.

 

Here are 9 key factors that managers should keep in mind if they are to successfully resolve a conflicts.

 

  1. Do not ignore conflict: Conflict will not usually go away by itself so effective managers should intervene whenever a conflict is evident between members of the team. An unresolved conflict can trigger more issues and can also affect productivity and efficiency.

 

  1. Meet with concerned people together: If the “combatants” are met with separately, this may lead to a polarizing effect among the team members. Both parties will likely stick to their own point of view so no solution can be reached. Instead, the manager should use his/her persuasive skills to bring both parties together, each can state their perspective and once they have actively listened to each other, it will be easier to figure out how to respectfully and fairly resolve the issue.

 

  1. Give both parties the opportunity to share their concerns: The effective manager will employ his/her leadership skills to engage both parties in conversation, allow them each to share their perspectives and then suggest specific actions that can be taken, which are acceptable to both. The effective manager should explore various options to achieve a win-win outcome for everyone.

 

  1. Clear Communication of the message will help to avoid misunderstanding: Communication barriers between employees and employers can create a wide gap in their understanding of situations and expectations. If effective, clear, and honest communication is not used, mistrust can develop among the employees causing disengagement and turnover. Incorrect information also evokes fear in the minds of employees so rumors, ambiguity, and misinformation needs to be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.

 

  1. Be proactive when circumstances dictate the need: Managers must be able to identify potential conflict and take action to ensure that the identified issues are diffused as soon as possible. With sound reasoning ability, the manager should try to influence both the parties to find ways to agree on a solution. The manager should create an environment where in the employees have trust that their interests and concerned are acknowledged and addressed.

 

  1. Employees should be Accountable: The effective manager should delegate work amongst the team members with a clear understanding of the time line allowed, as well as the roles and responsibilities that each employee is expected to fulfill. When employees know how they fit into the “big picture” they are more likely to want to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities….as win-win for everyone!

 

  1. Build Respectful relationships with employees: Again, when employees are aware of their roles and responsibilities they will feel more connected to the organization. It is important for the manager to keep the enthusiasm of the team at a high level so that the happiness factor will also be high, ensuring efficient, productive and creative outcomes. .

 

  1. Conduct Results –Oriented meetings with employees: Conducting meetings is an art which increases the transparency of organizational issues. The effective manager discusses plans for the upcoming period and shares a status report which illustrates the accomplishments achieved so far. This gives a clear picture to the employees of how they are doing and collaborative opportunities for improvement, if necessary, can be explored.

 

  1. Provide an employee “suggestion box”: This is a powerful means in which the manager can collect “honest” feedback from the team. This can be especially helpful in resolving conflict situations, improving work conditions, and delegating tasks.

 

Conflict and negotiation certainly tend to go hand in hand. With the growing complexity and pressures of today’s work environment, small issues pertaining to employee satisfaction can often go unnoticed by the top management. If these concerns are ignored for a long period of time, it may take the shape of conflict, disengagement, or even turnover. Therefore, the onus is on the manager to diffuse potential conflict-causing situations as soon as possible in order to keep the work environment happy, productive, efficient, and creative.

 

9 Key Skills for Effective Leadership

June 14, 2016 by  

There is no question that successful leaders need to have many skills in order to be effective in their stewardship role.   Some people may argue about which one is most important.  So let’s examine some of the key skills necessary and then identify the one that is clearly the most important.

First let’s define leadership……

Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to shared aspirations. According to Warren Buffet it is: “The capacity to create a compelling vision and translate it into action and sustain it. Successful leaders have a vision that other people believe in and treat as their own.“

Leadership is about enabling individuals to work as a team, complement one another and find innovative solutions to organizational problems.

Leadership is a rather difficult quality to define and may, in fact, mean different things to different people. However, the key elements of good leadership would likely include the following traits.

Respect

A respected leader will be believed and his/her team will value his/her instructions and directions.

 

Trust

A good leader must demonstrate integrity and honesty. This element provides the best climate for information sharing.  It must be a two way street; the team must trust the leader and the leader must trust the team.

 

Vision

Without vision how can goals be reached? Only the leader with a clear vision of where his/her team is going will be effective in leading them to that achievement.

 

Self-Confidence

Self-confidence serves as the catalyst to decisive action and helps provide the ability to listen to all the options but not act or react only in self-interest.

 

Effective Communication Skills

It is imperative that the leader be able to clearly articulate his/her vision to the team with competence, sincerity, and understanding. This also means that the leader has to be both a good listener as well as a good speaker.

Enthusiasm

A successful leader must possess passion, energy, and commitment in his/ her vision and be able to impart that in a motivational fashion to the team. The leader must be able to encourage the team to embrace the tenets of their vision with fervor and excitement.

 

Feedback

Leaders must have the ability to reward their team members and the team as a whole, in appropriate ways. The leader must also be able to provide constructive criticism when necessary in a manner which will result in improvement rather than causing further deflation of the individual.

 

Reliability

A good leader must be a team player, be prepared, and do what they promise, in a timely fashion. They must set the example, “walk the walk not just talk and talk”.  They must exemplify the aspects of the company culture that they wish to have emulated by the entire team.  They must be willing to take responsibility for what they do and the mistakes they make.

 

Mentoring

True leaders foster, coach, nurture and ultimately develop new leaders. They help to open doors toward new opportunities and support their team members to reach their full potential.  Providing challenges and reachable goals and encouraging new ideas, will provide potential leaders with the role model and support system they need to perform at their best.  The future is brighter when there is young, vibrant, capable leadership in the making.

 

According to the Leadership Challenge, the 5 most valued traits of a leader are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Forward Looking
  3. Competence
  4. Inspiration
  5. Intelligence

 

According to a recent study by Global Knowledge, the most important skill for a successful leader is: Effective Communication.

The reason for this is because this ability allows the leader to establish trust, respect, and rapport with his/her people. It is the core element in developing, maintaining, and nurturing long lasting, meaningful relationships.  It is also the skill necessary to effectively articulate his/her vision for the organization.  Finally, active listening is the key to learning how to deal well with his/her people so that they can enjoy autonomy, mastery of their skills and develop inner and motivational purpose which will be beneficial to everyone and all their goals…… all of which will help to encourage the team to reach their full potential and find more challenges and opportunities open up for them.  It also allows the leader to hear the innovative suggestions offered by his/her team.

Good leadership is the cornerstone of every successful and long lasting business. Development of good leadership takes time, effort, commitment, and dedication, and is an ongoing process.  However, if you continue to improve it will certainly be worthwhile in the long run.

Any place where people work you will find enormous, untapped potential waiting to be developed, waiting to be unleashed!

This is the job of the Leader Coach.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John Maxwell.

And finally…… “You have achieved Excellence as a leader, then people will follow you anywhere, if only out of curiosity.”