As all good leaders know, conflict in the workplace is simply an unavoidable part of workplace dynamics. As a leader, is it your job to embrace conflict and address it in a healthy, productive fashion. Leaders cannot simply put their head in the sand and hope the conflict will work itself out – it rarely does, and most often will grow and become something unmanageable. Real leaders don’t tolerate drama, manipulative or self-serving individuals, or play favorites. As a leader, it is imperative to understand how to deal with conflict in the workplace.
Where Does Conflict in the Workplace Come From?
Before you can determine how to deal with a conflict in the workplace, you have to understand where it started from. Getting to the bottom of a disagreement before making judgements can help ensure that the conflict is resolved faster. Generally speaking, there are two areas where conflict in the workplace stems from.
Communication. Most conflicts, both personal and professional, stem from communication issues. Whether a misunderstanding, lack of information, too much information, or poor information, this is where most issues stem from. Even when enough information is given, there are times when the mode or tone of the communication is part of the conflict. Clear, concise, accurate, and timely information can help ensure ease of communication and help your team avoid future conflicts.
Emotions. Emotions are something we all have, but they don’t work or present themselves the same in every individual. When emotions drive decision making, it can create conflict. When feelings get hurt, people feel unappreciated, unresolved anger or disappointment, or making emotional decisions can all result in conflict in the workplace. Emotions are an aspect of workplace conflict that gets ignored as unimportant, yet it is core to many conflicts and acknowledging it and dealing with it effectively will make you a better leader.
Resolving Workplace Conflict
In order to resolve a conflict, you have to understand where it comes from. Getting to the bottom of an issue before trying to make judgement calls can help ensure that the appropriate advice and guidance is provided from leadership and that those involved can move forward successfully.