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The Complete Guide To Conflict Resolution In The Workplace

Conflict resolution is a skill every manager needs to work successfully in today’s workplace. Conflict resolution skills are essential for managing teams effectively, resolving disagreements with co-workers, handling demanding clients, or resolving issues between team members. In this blog, you’ll learn about conflict resolution, its importance in the workplace, and how to develop your conflict resolution skills. Along the way, you’ll also find resources on conflict resolution for managers, including assessment tools to help you measure your progress. So whether you’re a new manager just starting or an experienced one looking to up your game, this blog is for you!

What is a conflict?

Conflict is a disagreement or conflictual situation. It can be personal or professional, arising from varying attitudes, opinions, or ways. When conflict arises in the workplace, it can cause tension and disruption among employees. As a result, set workflows get hampered, and teams often find an uneasy air at work. Typically, a conflict goes on for a long time and can arise due to many causes.

For instance, a creative difference can put two team members on opposite sides. While one may want to adopt the traditional color palette of the brand, another can suggest a modern reinterpretation – putting the manager in a fix! Similarly, conflicts can arise due to personality, objectives, or work style differences. You can find out more about the types of conflicts and what causes them in our detailed blog here.

Conflicts generally carry a negative connotation, wherein differences are seen as causes of disputes that limit productivity and push for stagnancy. While this is usually true, conflicts can provide teams with that much-needed impetus to grow. In addition, some conflicts can force managers to rethink their strategies and adopt more innovative methods. In turn, the process of discovering and resolving a row creates a platform for team members and managers to engage openly. As such, some conflicts can be healthy too! Read more about healthy conflicts here.

What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution is a process that helps resolve disagreements between individuals or groups and leads to mutually agreeable solutions. At workplaces, conflict resolution skills are often needed to overcome contesting views and opinions that can cause strife. For managers, conflict resolution is the set of techniques that help end conflicts in teams.

A manager can use many conflict resolution styles, such as negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. Disputes may arise between business partners, employees, or clients. The team members’ disputes hurt the managers, as their workflow is broken. If left unresolved, deep conflicts can disintegrate teams. Conflict management prevents disputes from escalating and leads to smoother relationships and improved communication. When conflict management is applied correctly, it can lead to positive outcomes such as improved morale, reduced stress levels, and increased cooperation.

Why is conflict resolution in the workplace important?

Conflict resolution is essential in the workplace because it helps to ensure that all employees are aware of and respect boundaries. It is primarily vital because managers should resolve conflicts within teams fairly and peacefully. A manager has to aim for a mutually beneficial solution instead of a biased adjudication that favors either side. With the help of effective conflict resolution, a manager can bring together their team in the face of challenging situations when team members do not see eye to eye.

Without effective conflict resolution, managers might do a lot of firefighting, constantly caught in a tug-of-war between many parties. Conflict resolution in the workplace frees them from these internal matters and allows focus on pertinent issues relating to strategy and growth of the team. It enables the manager to grow with a team with the help of efficient plans with a resilient team.

Read more about the importance of conflict resolution in the workplace here.

What are the conflict resolution skills of a manager?

A manager’s conflict resolution skills are essential to managing the various conflicts in a work environment. A manager’s goal is to resolve disputes constructively and peacefully while ensuring that all parties feel heard and respected. To achieve these goals, a manager typically employs the following skills:

  • Active Listening: to make sure that they understand every side of the conflict
  • Emotional Intelligence: to make pragmatic decisions for the team
  • Patience: giving due importance to matters instead of rushing through them
  • Mediation & negotiation: bringing out the most feasible solution for each party involved in the conflict
Not only this, conflict resolution skills of a manager seek ample use of their communication and problem-solving skills too! Being active and alert can ensure that further complications do not arise for their teams. Find out more about the conflict resolution skills of a manager here.

Conflict resolution strategies for managers

Conflict can be a difficult and frustrating experience for all parties involved. As a manager, you must be prepared for conflict and handle it healthily and productively. Many conflict resolution strategies are available, so it’s important to find the right one for the situation. However, this conflict resolution framework can provide some common ground to get started:

Understand and acknowledge the conflict

The key to correctly solving a conflict lies in understanding it. While ignoring a row can be easy, it can create many more troubles when it eventually comes to the surface. You must acknowledge the issue if you get signs of a conflict brewing in your team. Only after doing so, you can go towards the further steps. Often, a conflict may not be visible. Hence, as a manager, you must be alert to the signs of tensions and breaking flows in the team. Ensure that office politics or gossip do not take up too much of your team’s time and efforts.

Go to the core issue – What is causing the conflict?

Once you have acknowledged the conflict and understood its root, then only you can look into solutions. It can be a complex process as different parties may hold diverse opinions on what is causing the conflict. However, finding the core issue is essential in resolving the conflict successfully. Once you know what made things blow out of proportion, you can start preparations for how to address this without further escalation of tensions.

Hear all sides

As a manager, you must be open-minded about hearing all sides of the conflict. You should not just listen to the party that seems to have more power in the conflict. Instead, give equal weight and attention to both parties involved with active listening. Even if one side is louder or has more experience handling disputes, do not discount their viewpoints simply because they seem less favorable at first glance.

Find a middle way out

Assuming you have identified an issue and ascertained which party is responsible for what, your next step is finding a solution that everyone can agree on. It can be difficult, but it is essential to remember that conflict resolution is not about getting everyone happy all the time. Instead, resolving conflicts effectively allows team members to work together more efficiently and productively in the future. Therefore, you might need to make concessions by compromising on some of your positions for the conflict resolution process to move forward successfully.

Design a roadmap to implement the solution

When coming up with solutions, it’s important that everyone involved understands them and feels comfortable following through with them. Create principles or guidelines that everyone can agree to. As long as everyone is on the same page, conflict resolution becomes a lot easier. Use your vision to define a direction for your team.

Once all of the principles or guidelines have been agreed upon, it’s time to make sure that everyone knows about them and follows through with them. It can require regular communication and feedback from involved parties in order to maintain cohesion throughout the process. Ineffective conflict resolution processes often lead to team fragmentation and infighting, which defeats the purpose of resolving conflicts in the first place.

How can managers assess their conflict resolution skills?

We are sure that conflict resolution skills are indispensable for any good manager. However, despite your best efforts, conflict management is not one of the most straightforward tasks a manager has to do. That’s why managers need to constantly learn and upgrade their skills, and evaluate them too. Risely offers a simple way for managers to check the efficacy of their conflict resolution skills in little time, with the free conflict management self-assessment for managers.

The free conflict management self-assessment for managers helps with detailed insights to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your conflict resolution skills. Moreover, it helps you identify critical blind spots that repeatedly cause problems. So start the assessment now to grab all the benefits quickly!

Conclusion

If you are a manager, you need conflict resolution skills. Conflict can be a challenging and unpleasant experience, but it is also an inevitable part of any working relationship. By learning how to manage conflict effectively, you can minimize the potential for damage and improve the overall quality of your work environment. Many resources are available to help you learn how to deal with conflict constructively, so be sure to explore them carefully. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of resolving disputes successfully and maintaining healthy relationships within your team.

Deep dive into effective conflict resolution with a free toolkit

The free conflict management toolkit for managers offers a selection of resources to make people management easy

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