Handling Conflict: The Challenge of Modern Managers

Conflict is an inevitable part of any workforce. Though today’s hiring managers are investing more time and effort into choosing recruitment candidates that fit with company culture, it’s impossible to know whether someone will work out in a team before they’re given a chance to thrive in a specific situation. According to research by the Virginia Department of Human Resources, up to 80% of all workplace conflict stems from difficult relationships between managers and their staff. This means that even if it’s difficult employee attitudes holding a business back from success – it’s still up to the leader of that company to find a way of dealing with conflict quickly and effectively.

Managers must respect their staff, recognize signs of office tension as quickly as possible, and come up with creative ways to build bonds within the office environment. Of course, as any leader will know, that’s not always easy.

Reducing the Risk of Workplace Conflict

The first step in banishing conflict is to prevent unnecessary causes of arguments and other issues within a work environment. For instance, managers can get to know their employees better so that they get a general feel for their attitudes, and the people they might work more organically with. Placing people together who have similar personalities can pave the way for a more conflict-free work environment. Additionally, if conflict is already a problem within the business environment, then leaders can speak to their teams about what they believe is causing the problems. Sometimes, simply sitting down in a group meeting can be enough to discover the roots of common issues. Diagnosing problems quickly means that they have less time to fester or grow out of control.

When leaders face a conflict issue within their team, the best way to approach it is to be honest, transparent, and direct with employees. Everyone involved in the team should also play a part in coming up with a resolution to the problem. This will lead to a wider range of creative problem-solving ideas that will eventually make the office a better, more peaceful place to work.

Consider Employee Needs Carefully

Importantly, if a conflict arises between two staff members, it can be tempting to push those professionals into a room and ask them to solve the issue for themselves.   While this does encourage independence and ensure that leaders aren’t micromanaging their teams, it’s not always the best way to ensure a resolution. Great leaders know when they need to get involved in problems that their teams are having.

Ideally, managers should begin by speaking individually to each of the parties involved on the conflict and getting their side of the story. After this, research each version of events for a more comprehensive view of what actually took place. Eventually, managers will be able to objectively recite the details of the conflict back to the participants in a different light – encouraging them to view the issue from the other side’s perspective.

Only after diluting the initial conflict should a manager prompt employees to find a resolution for themselves.

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