Show me any workplace and I’ll show you a place with interpersonal conflict. Every enterprise that brings people together is bound to run into differences at some point. That’s just part of life. And it means that for a workplace to thrive, its leaders need to know how to resolve conflict. Here are some of the fundamentals I go over with my leadership coaching clients:
Coach your team effectively. “Work it out between yourselves” is a popular strategy but not an effective one. If people could resolve conflicts on their own, they probably would—but in almost every case they need your help. Talk to those involved, together and separately, and ask lots of open-ended questions. Remember that as a coach, it’s your role to understand, not to fix. Work to train, guide and mentor everyone involved without taking a side about who is and isn’t in the wrong.
Stay calm in the face of other people’s high emotions. People in conflict tend to be highly charged emotionally, making it difficult to identify and resolve the issue. When you set an example of composure and calmness, you help others calm down without calling anyone out for being too emotional.
Focus on the conflict at hand and stay away from past problems. Conflict usually comes with some history, and people often show up to a resolution session with a long list of past issues. Stay away from old grievances and concentrate only on the conflict at hand. It’s enough for the parties involved to resolve what’s in front of them in. Stay focused on working toward a solution instead of rehashing old issues.
Embrace the willingness to compromise or collaborate. Once the conflict has been clearly defined, it’s time to move on to the most important work: reaching a resolution that everyone can agree to. Sometimes one party is more adamant than the other, which calls for compromise. On the other hand, when both parties are invested in the solution, you can move to a collaborative resolution. As a leader, you need to understand what type of situation you’re dealing with.
Keep relationships at center stage. When all is said and done, a conflict is usually just a small roadblock in an otherwise strong relationship. Whether you need to remember the good times or discuss a different topics, remind each person how important this relationship is to the organization, how they’re working toward the same goals, and the importance of finding common ground.
Interpersonal conflict is an inevitable part of our professional lives, but it you don’t have to sacrifice progress or growth when people don’t get along. Study and practice the elements of conflict resolution so you can bring your leadership to bear on workplace conflicts.
Lead from within: Be the kind of leader who knows the fundamentals of conflict resolution to help keep your organization thriving.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.