Conflict management is defined as the ability to identify and handle conflicts efficiently and fairly. Leaders must deal with conflict management on a daily basis. It is important for leaders to remember to deal with the situation and be tempted to become involved in nonrelated issues. Leaders must ensure they continuously communicate with their team as well as articulate a vision. The impact of conflict in the workplace can result in a disruption of the effectiveness of employees and slow the achievement of organizational goals. Leaders are often challenged with navigating seamlessly through conflict. Identification of the conflicting source using a thorough assessment of the situation is essential.
Some important leadership strategies for dealing with conflict management include the following:
- Act Responsibly. A leader must act responsibly when handling conflict. If the leader is not responsible, respect for the leader may be affected.
- Diagnose the conflict. Diagnosis of the conflict begins with a thorough assessment of the situation. It is important for leaders to remember not to avoid the issue. The leader must make attempts to minimize or neutralize the conflict. The leader must remember they are not in a popularity contest and not all decisions will be supported by everyone. Before acting, the leader must ensure there is proof of wrongdoing. It is important not to create unnecessary conflict and not to wait until the situation is beyond repair. If the leader waits too long to act, others will feel the leader is hesitant to make decisions.
- Maintain boundaries. A leader must assist and support others in maintaining boundaries. Additionally, the leader must possess enough self-awareness to keep themselves from crossing lines. An ongoing awareness of boundaries will help assist in establishing standards to prevent further conflict.
- Respect differences. As opposed to influencing, the leader must respect the unique skills of those. Far too often, a leader sides with those they trust the most and do not venture out to capture the diverse skills of their employees. A leader must work to appreciate the gifts everyone brings to the workplace.
- Identify a goal. Leadership includes doing things others do not like to do. This includes conflict resolution. The leader must be careful when addressing only one person’s point of view. The leader must gather information, develop their own self-awareness, and be ready for the unexpected. A goal for managing conflict should be identified and strategies specific to achieving the identified goal should be implemented. This strategic approach can assist the leader in staying on task and resolving the issue at hand.
Conflict management is an ongoing job duty of a leader. Developing skills in managing conflict in the workplace through self-awareness, communication, respect, and appreciation for others skill set are important aspects of the leader’s role in ensuring conflict is managed and organizational goals are prioritized.
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