Conflict Management Skills: How to Manage Conflict Like a Pro
Workplace conflict is inevitable and it happens more frequently than you think. It's not a bad thing, but how you deal with it really matters and could be the difference between strong and bad relationships with the parties involved. When you know how to manage conflicts like a pro, you could greatly improve your work environment and develop healthy relationships among the people in your workplace.
Here are 5 conflict management skills every manager or leader should possess:
- Communication skills
Not everyone can communicate effectively. You may have skills, experience and brilliant ideas to share, but if you can't communicate effectively, you may find yourself in conflict with others.
When you communicate with your team members or peers, it's important to understand that it's not just about you. You need to listen and understand where the other person or your team members are coming from and respect what they have to say. Body language matters as it often speaks more than what you say. Most importantly, think before you speak. Share your thoughts with clarity to ensure that the parties understand your message.
- Problem-solving skills
Simply put, your problem-solving skills let you identify what causes the conflict, analyze the situation, and come up with an effective solution to resolve it. Solutions to workplace conflicts are rarely simple; however, while it's important to solve a problem, you should not disregard people's emotions in the process. Ignoring feelings will cause hurt and long-term consequences. So make sure to also consider the human side of things during conflict resolution.
- Emotional intelligence
Problem-solving skills and emotional intelligence should always come together. Emotionally intelligent people can better handle and regulate their negative emotions, allowing them to minimize their negative thoughts during conflict resolution. This helps them think more logically and find effective solutions to achieve the desired outcome.
While some people are naturally more adept, emotional intelligence is a skill that you can learn, develop and enhance.
The ability to remain impartial is commendable especially when you are closer with some colleagues than others. However, when conflict happens, you need to remain impartial, no matter who is involved.
Active listening is important to understand the cause of the conflict. You need to get the views of the parties involved before making a call. Some people might get offended, especially those who are close to you, but if they really value teamwork and your ability to lead, they will respect what you have to say. If you think you can't remain impartial under the situation, you need to step back and get someone to help in the resolution process.
A good manager should also be able to properly guide the conflicting parties on what to do next. No one wants to be yelled at or castigated for causing a conflict. What people need is proper guidance on the next steps.
Even if a conflict is obviously caused by someone in your team, you don't need to say so as it will just push them away instead of taking them in and becoming a part of the resolution. Instead, you could show the person the areas for improvement, explain how errors could affect other people, and show how to avoid errors in the future. And when you do so, do it constructively to encourage the other person to cooperate.
Conflict management is integral in any organization. As conflicts are unavoidable, it's important that you know how to manage them effectively so that you can provide direction for accomplishing positive outcomes. Effective conflict management gives leaders an opportunity to develop healthy relationships in the workplace. If you are interested to learn more about how to manage a conflict like a pro, Change Works can help you.