Are these Conflict Management Mistakes that You Make?

March 21, 2017 by  

Some situations need to be argued out and fights can actually strengthen a relationship. Your organization will also face conflict. Anytime a group of people comes together, there will be some level of differing opinions. Therefore ways to resolve those conflicts need to be exercised in order to keep harmony in the workplace.
Diversity is essential to building a successful team, however, this also can contribute to the likelihood of facing conflict. Knowing how to deal with conflicting personalities, experiences, and working styles will help make you a better manager.

“Conflict isn’t just natural—it’s productive.” However, that happens only when people know how to handle it well. The trouble is that most managers are never taught how to manage conflict at work. They develop the skills to become an expert in their job, but they often lack the formal training in the people skills that is necessary in order for them to deal with tricky situations in the workplace. Instead, they are just expected to pick up those skills as they need them. This is not truly the best way to prepare a person for a managerial role.

Learn how to manage conflict by avoiding these common management mistakes:
1. Inaction
Ignoring team conflicts will not make them go away. Unfortunately, this is the method many managers choose for dealing with workplace conflict. This is such a popular choice that apparently 35 percent of managers would rather parachute jump than address a problem with a colleague. Even 8 percent would rather eat bugs. But inaction can sabotage your organization. If a problem goes unresolved, it will grow into resentment that can derail future projects even after the nature of the dispute becomes irrelevant. Inaction can lead to tense relationships between your employees.

2. Competition
Many people many avoid conflict out of fear. They do not want to deal with a conflict because they are afraid they might lose. Fear begins when managers view conflicts as “something they can’t control and are unlikely to win.” So, if you take the element of competition out of the conflict, you will be able to assess the situation from a calmer, more neutral viewpoint. If winning is your only goal, your conflict may never end. One should always put the goals of your company above your personal preferences. This means putting aside your pride and facing problems head on. Removing the element of competition will also help you to evaluate whether it is a personality or organizational issue that you must resolve.

3. Not listening
If you have made it past the step of inaction and taken competition out of the equation, you may still face another hurdle in your conflict resolution skills. Not listening is a common problem for managers to fall into when dealing with employee conflicts. Shutting down your employees before hearing them out can be just as ineffective as inaction. Apparently, “85 percent of what we know is learned through listening.” Therefore, being an active listener is essential to resolving conflicts in a healthy manner that will ultimately build a stronger foundation for the future. You want to do more than just solve the conflict; you also want to prevent future conflicts.

Dealing with conflicts at work comes down to an issue of respect. Effective managers value their employees, as they are the organization’s most valuable asset. When you avoid conflict, you are also indicating that their disagreements are not worthy of your time. Making conflict into a competition occurs when you let your pride get in the way of your work. And when you try to resolve conflicts simply from a position of authority, you can create greater animosity. Keep these common management mistakes in mind and you will help conflict become another tool of your organization’s success.


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