Unfortunately, conflict in the work place is unavoidable. In leadership, conflict makes or breaks the leader as well as the work culture. For this reason it is important to recognize conflict, the nature of it, and handle it correctly by bringing a swift resolution to all those involved.
Although these abilities are important for everyone to have, they are crucial if you are a leader. There are many kind, intelligent, and diligent visionaries in the workplace; some are great leaders, while others lack the skills necessary to lead effectively – having a deficit in conflict resolution can make or break a leader.
While not everyone in the office is prone to drama, most every office has those employees that cause trouble. They are the manipulators, these people cause emotional drama to blame others for their mistakes, they tell lies, or half the story, and usually it is a cover up for their lack of performance. Of course, there are those high performers that are on a power trip and need to manipulate others by putting them down and make themselves look even better to their superiors. From pride, jealousy, issues with compensation, to having competitive nature – these are the culprits of discontent and ultimately – conflict at work!
Whatever the motive, these behaviors have no place in the workplace, and they need to be dealt with. Unresolved conflict can cause a divide between employees. It can instill fear in the office, it can stifle creativity, it can block collaboration, and it can also make employees less cooperative, more stressed, and be forced choose to leave the company.
Unfortunately, along with overseeing productivity, keeping on track to targeted goals, it is the leaders job to also oversee the people, deal with their issues, and yes, the drama in office by working through conflict. Here are a 4 smart tips to deal with conflict in the office.
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1. Face it head on!
Embrace it. Just like any issue, conflict that is left unresolved grows until it becomes unmanageable. Facing it head on will let everyone know that there is zero tolerance for negative emotional behavior. The office is a place of business and as such everyone needs to behave accordingly. As the leader, it is up to you to set the standard by setting a good example and creating a safe office environment..
2. Nip it in the bud
If you are a new leader, it can be challenging to recognize brewing conflict without getting caught up in the emotions of it. Information and communication is key here. As a professional, your emotional intelligence will play a huge role in discernment.
3. Define the office standards
Clearly define the standards of collaboration and behavior. Create a framework for responsibilities and a protocol in the workflow. Everything needs to be transparent and clearly understood. Having said this, leave space for creativity and understanding. People are human, mistakes do happen. Focus on the recovery not the mistake!
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4. Develop your people
This is important! Find teachable moments to help your group grow and succeed individually and as a team. Building people up is a part of leadership that few leaders embrace. Implement a mentor for the new member in the group. It may be that some conflicts can be resolved by simply rehashing the issues with a trusted source; thoughts can be redirected, opinions can be changed. This approach will instill trust and create a sense of solidarity within the team, channel this towards a common goal. Time is never wasted even if it is spent to train an employee that eventually leaves the company. In most cases, bonds will be formed and an unspoken commitment will develop. There will be a sense that the company has their employee’s best interests in mind, because they do.
If more companies set standards such as these and viewed people as people to be developed, there would be less of a need to look out for number one, less conflict and far less disgruntled employees in the work place.
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