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Conflict at work? So what?

Conflict management can be one of the most difficult elements of a manager’s job. A high percentage of manager’s I have worked with, do not like dealing with conflict, however, it is a necessary aspect to a manager’s job. Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative parts of conflict and increasing the positive aspects.

Why is it important?

Firstly, if conflict goes un-resolved it can foster negative tension, this can lead to poor morale, attendance and productivity issues.  Secondly, if the problems continue to go un-resolved it can affect employee retention and longer-term culture issues. Therefore, it is vital to deal with conflict as early as possible.

How you manage conflict can be a great opportunity for you to solve issues, boost morale and gain the respect of your team. If handled poorly, it can result in losing the confidence and respect of your team.

That is why it is a necessity for all managers to learn conflict management skills.

A common misconception is that it is emotionally sensitive or emotionally intelligent people that are the best at handling these situations. However, emotional intelligence doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be great at handling conflicts in the workplace.

As with all communication skills, conflict management skills must be learned, practised and honed by all managers. Here are some practical steps and tips to help you improve your conflict management skills.

#9 Conflict Management Steps

  1. Be aware of any early signs of conflict
  2. A considered and rational approach, stay calm
  3. Investigate, take time to find out what has happened
  4. Decide how to tackle the conflict, decide what is appropriate
  5.  Let everyone speak, if you can get people together
  6. Identify options and agree a way forward
  7. Implement the agreed actions, everyone taking personal responsibility
  8. Evaluate, do not assume that the issue has been resolved
  9. Consider strategies for prevention

Top tips that Managers should avoid:

  • Ignoring the signs of conflict growing among your team members
  • Jumping to conclusions about the source of conflict before you investigate it thoroughly
  • Jumping into the situation too early or pre-empting discussions and imposing your own solution

Do you want some help?

TA Barker Associates, led by Tracy-Anne work with individual managers, companies and local organisations to train, coach and mentor new and emerging managers and business owners. Get in touch if you would like an no obligation 30 minute consultation. Tracy-Anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk

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