Proactive Conflict Management for Managers: Red Flags You Can’t Miss

Conflict management is one of the most challenging aspects of a manager’s job. Not only does it have the potential to impact the entire team negatively, but it can also hurt the manager’s professional growth. Thus, conflict resolution is one aspect of the job in which every manager needs to be proactive rather than reactive. But how do you resolve something before it even occurs? Let’s find this out in this week’s The Top newsletter.

#Conflicts are not a matter of a few hours or just some changes. Instead, they simmer over time before they boil over and spill onto the entire team. This is where the manager can step in! As someone who’s worked in teams, there are some sure signs of conflict that every manager should know. So here are some alarm bells to watch out for:

Discomfort: If you notice team members feeling uneasy around each other while discussing shared issues, it could be a sign of an underlying conflict. People tend to feel uncomfortable in the workplace if their boundaries aren’t respected, or their views aren’t heard. Pay attention to body language; if you find yourself having closed-door conversations with individual team members instead of shared meetings, it’s a major red flag.

Groupism: A team splitting into particular groups indicates underlying conflicts. Groupism and favoritism can harm team dynamics by promoting biases and the dominance of specific people.

Returning to the basics: Is your team referring to the policy documents throughout everyday workplace interactions? It can be because the informal communication norms have been ineffective and insufficient. Team members who feel that their boundaries are violated borrow support from systemic resources to reinforce their position in the group. It could also indicate a lack of psychological safety and security at work, revealing more issues for the manager.

Absenteeism: When the workplace environment becomes too toxic to bear, team members are more likely to disengage and drop out of informal and formal settings. Rising #absenteeism and disengagement can be a hint of conflict within the team. It is more likely visible in unofficial team-building activities and catch-ups.

Remarks that make no sense: If you struggle to decipher the true meaning of sentences between team members, there may be some issues with grapevines and rumors across teams. Often, diatribes that begin as jokes can transform into genuine conflicts. Instances of bullying and toxic behavior toward particular team members might be hiding in plain sight.

Rigid relationships: Rigidity and over-the-top formality in interactions at work are other signs of conflicts that managers need to look out for. For example, if some team members are avoiding communication or collaborative tasks, it might be due to tensions playing under the surface. Body language is another effective indicator of a lack of connection. Team members stay on guard and do not look relaxed around each other in case of conflicts.

Unproductive meetings: Dysfunctional meetings can be a sign of conflicts brewing silently. High-stress situations and lack of cooperation can hamper productivity, leading to ineffective and inconclusive meetings as teams struggle to communicate effectively. In such scenarios, team members become unable and unwilling to contribute to projects, as their ideas are likely to meet confrontation or neglect. 

If your team is experiencing any of these signs, it’s time to brush up on your conflict #management skills! Conflict resolution is a vital function of a manager and critical to your team’s success. Neglecting this critical area can prove to be a significant hurdle in the professional growth of managers and leaders. 

Interested in learning more? On the 10th of May, join us for an insightful webinar on #ConflictManagement Strategies for #Leadership, brought to you by Risely and Discussions by Design. Industry experts will be sharing secrets to effective conflict management in the workplace. So don’t miss out – sign up now to secure your spot!

#leadershipdevelopment #managerdevelopment

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