If you are a new manager in charge of leading and supervising the activities of a team, you may have had to brush up on your management skills. One area of particular interest should be resolving conflict among members of your team.
In this case, your main objective is always to pave the way for better communication and understanding among team members.
You’ll find some interesting reading material on this important topic by going to conflict-resolution-training.com/workshops/leaders-managers/. Let’s see what other conflict resolution skills might come in handy.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Whether the team you are managing is in the office with you or working remotely, personal conflicts are always a possibility. Establish clear boundaries as to when you will step in. Most conflicts you’ll need to solve should be related to work and not social situations.
When a team member brings the conflict to your attention, determine whether this is negatively impacting the team’s morale and productivity.
Get to the Root of the Problem
Before taking any action, it’s important to understand the magnitude and nature of the issue. You may discover that most conflicts stem from differences in communication styles. They may also arise when there are unmet expectations or unreasonable time constraints.
Start by talking individually to the parties involved and listening to their stories. Avoid jumping in with suggestions or criticisms until you have the whole picture.
Investigate on Your Own
Depending on how severe or complex the problem is, you may need to investigate the matter more deeply, particularly in cases where you feel that those involved are not giving you the whole story. You may review meeting notes, emails, performance reviews, or other useful materials to build a more solid understanding of the situation.
Remember that your main objective should not be to assign blame or find a culprit but to understand what triggers these situations and what steps might help avoid having them crop up again in the future.
Select a Conflict Management Style
You can apply various management styles to resolve conflicts between team members and proactively work toward ending and preventing them. Two common managerial styles may work in your favor when conflict is present.
These are a collaborating style — which focuses on finding a solution that leaves all the parties involved satisfied — and a compromising style, which calls for all those involved to make an equal sacrifice to reach a satisfactory solution.
No style is better than the other. Rather, these are two options that you can apply depending on the nature of the conflict and the people involved.
Once a useful approach has been put in place and the conflict seems to have been left behind, it’s time to call upon all team members and go over what happened and how the issue was resolved.
Emphasize the fact that what’s important is keeping the team moving forward and the projects on track. Stress the point that it’s not important to rehash the details of the conflict but to focus on the work at hand and what needs to be accomplished.
If necessary, take the time to explain how the conflict was handled and the final decision. You may find team members will ask questions or push back, but this is part of the process to clear the air and make everyone understand that their points of view are important and their voices are heard.
Document the meeting and the resulting decisions so that everyone is on the same page and ready to leave this situation behind. However, if the conflict is related to discrimination or harassment, a deeper investigation into the matter may be required.