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.

9 Tips for Workplace Conflict Management

January 10, 2017 by  

Organizational conflicts usually arise when there is a disharmony between co-workers or between managers and employees. People often vary in their perceptions of situations; react in different ways and may also espouse differing views due to cultural differences. These differences can cause emotional clashes which may result in conflicts. Conflict does have some positive effects, such as developing new ideas for resolution or learning more about another’s point of view, however, more often it has a negative impact on the welfare of the organization’s workplace environment.

In any organization, it is usually the managers who have the responsibility of handling those conflicts and they need to find creative solutions for doing this.
Here are some factors that managers should keep in mind for successfully resolving a conflict.

1.Address the conflict directly: Effective managers should intervene whenever a conflict comes their way. Unresolved conflict may trigger the growth of more conflict because they rarely go away if ignored and can easily escalate if not addressed soon after it arises.

2. Try to meet concerned people together: In this way you can listen actively to both sides of the conflict and mediate accordingly. You want to appear neutral, fair and consistent in how you deal with any conflict. The manager should also use his/her best persuasive skills to bring both parties to common ground in order to resolve the issue.

3. Encourage both parties to share their perspective & concerns: An effective manager will engage in conversation with both parties, allow them to share their viewpoints and then suggest specific actions, which are acceptable to all concerned. In this way, you can collaboratively explore ways that will result in a win-win situation for everyone.

4. Communicate the message clearly to avoid any misunderstanding: Communication barriers between employees and employers can easily create a wide gap in understanding which can result in miscommunication, confusion, resentment, and disappointment. If not monitored properly, this sort of exchange may lead to mistrust amongst employees. Incorrect or misunderstood information can create fear in the minds of employees. Thus it is important to communicate in a clear, honest, and concise manner so as to minimize any ambiguity which could arise. Basically one must employ active listening and encourage others to do the same.

5. Take a proactive stance whenever possible: Managers must be able to identify any potential conflict which be likely to cause problems and then take any action necessary to ensure that the conflict is diffused as soon as possible. With sound reasoning ability, a manager can attempt to influence both the parties so that they will agree to the terms he/she suggests. Managers must try to create an environment where employees trust the management and are reassured that their interests will be protected and respected.

6. Make sure that employees are accountable: An effective manager should delegate work to the appropriate employees and clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities relative to their job descriptions. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their work and any mistakes that are made.

7. Build cordial, trusting and respectful relationships with employees: The manager should foster a sense of belonging in the team. It is important for the manager to set the tone for his/her team by being positive, upbeat and supportive. The employees need to know that you have their backs in any situation and take responsibility for your work as well. You have to “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk”.

8. Conduct meetings with all employees: Conducting personal meetings increases the transparency for any organizational issues. An effective manager discusses plans for the coming months and shares a status report showing the accomplishments achieved so far. This gives the employees a clear idea of how they fit into the organization’s big picture and why their roles are so key to the achievement of the common goals of the team. When an employee fully understands how they fit into the organization they are motivated to fulfill their part to the best of their ability….a win/win for everyone.

9. You may want to set up an employee “suggestion box”: this can be a powerful tool for collecting “honest” feedback and suggestions from employees.

Conflict and negotiation go hand in hand, so with growing complexity in the business environment, small issues pertaining to employees can often go unnoticed by the top management. If ignored for a long period of time, this may create some conflict. Therefore, again, the onus is upon the manager to diffuse any potential conflict-causing situations by addressing them right at the start.

If you follow these tips you ought to be able to handle any conflict that occurs with your employees and create a positive outcome.