Business owners, your perpetual concern is to grow your business. But you can't do that if your employees don't see eye to eye with one another.
If your workplace environment is toxic or your employees can't stand one another, you can't nurture your company's future. Therefore, business owners and managers, need to add workplace conflict management to their tasks list as a priority.
Unfortunately, to manage workplace conflicts, there's no straightforward formula available. As people are involved in the process, you can't resolve conflicts using the same approach all the time. In the words of Dale Carnegie —
"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion."
However, based on several business owners' experiences and basic leadership principles, there are a few traits that leaders can use to manage conflicts in their organizations. Scroll down to understand workplace conflicts better and how you can resolve them.
Reasons Behind Workplace Conflicts
Workplace conflicts aren't a new thing, but the current pandemic has seen a significant rise in the cases of workplace conflicts. This is primarily due to the virtual environment where miscommunication is common. For every organization, conflict triggers are different but based on a CPC study, common conflict factors are—
- 49% of conflicts are caused due to ego clashes
- 34% are related to stress
- 29% of conflicts are the result of poor leadership
- 22% arise from unclear roles
- 21% because of unclear accountability and so on.
6 Leadership Traits to Handle Workplace Conflicts
There can be plenty of reasons behind workplace conflicts. But if you are a good leader, you can manage all types of conflicts in no time. Here are the few traits that leaders can adopt to build a cohesive team culture:
1. Be a clear leader
One of the most important leadership traits is being clear in your communication. If leaders are ambiguous about their requirements, followers can't make appropriate efforts to achieve them. This, in return, will unnecessarily raise conflicts among team members.
A leader should define responsibilities and set benchmarks that indicate progress. This way, the whole team will have a clear idea of what you expect from them. In addition, your clear approach won't leave any room for the blame game in your organization.
2. Be Proactive
Some leaders first avoid conflicts, and when the damage is already done, they try to solve it. So, leaders need to develop an eye to identify and diffuse situations before conflicts arise.
If you are aware of a potential workplace conflict, you should take immediate action to resolve it. No matter how small an issue seems in the beginning, you need to adopt a proactive approach and confront the problem before it's too late.
Importantly, if you delay decision-making, it will send the message that you are weak and can't lead a team. So, to honor your leader's role, use your management skills to take action on time.
3. Be a team player
Conflicts are connected to an individual's behavioral tendencies like attitude, mindset, or self-awareness. Therefore, to handle conflicts, you have to understand every team member's mentality and behavior patterns.
Importantly, you have to understand how a certain person behaves in a particular situation. For example, some people are serial troublemakers, and to tame them; you have to adopt a no-nonsense approach. On the contrary, some people are logical and strong-headed, and a good discussion is sufficient to deal with them.
So, the leader must try to establish one-on-one connections with everyone on the team. This, in turn, helps you tailor your approach while managing a conflict among different groups.
Conducting team building practices like game days, informal communications, or even going in for formal personality assessments or 360-degree feedback surveys, can help you understand your team members' behavioral traits and motivations
4. Be a respectful leader
The conflict resolution process isn't either black or white. In reality, there are more grey areas in modern workplaces, especially in the remote work environment.
Usually, remote teams are highly diverse. This means every team member has a different cultural, social and educational background, which impacts their ideology.
A good leader never imposes his or her decision on the team. In fact, they respect cultural diversity and individual viewpoints.
Progressive leaders understand and give opportunities to each employee to share their thoughts openly. And if one employee is unable to understand another’s viewpoint due to cultural differences, you should take responsibility to explain issues to the team.
5. Be an open leader
Mostly, leaders consider team conflicts as their personal failure and try to hide or suppress them. But that's the wrong approach.
First, there's nothing wrong with having workplace conflicts. In fact, it indicates that you have an active team with strong opinions. Second, healthy disagreements lead to growth, innovation, and productivity. It helps uncover the weak links in your organization that you can strengthen to build stronger organizations.
Thus, when there's a conflict in your organization (which isn’t too personal in nature), you can try discussing it in an open environment. In fact, involving other team members can shed new light on the matter and you can even receive unique and innovative ideas to resolve a conflict.
6. Be democratic
Leaders shouldn't only think about the welfare of their organization. Instead, they should keep both the company and employees on the same track.
You should not take any action that favors only your organization or only the employees. Honoring your company culture, you should harness both inclusion and productivity in your conflict management approach.
A leader is the captain of the ship. Therefore, it's the leader's responsibility to ensure that there's no problem in the vessel before taking it into the deep ocean.
Metaphors aside, leaders must have capabilities to manage conflicts on time and, importantly, in the right manner. Using the above-discussed traits, you can easily build a strong conflict resolution culture in your organization. However, if you have any special leadership traits to share, you are welcome to do so.
Meanwhile, don't forget to like and share this post with your pals.
This guest post was written by Ankur Manchanda and may not be copied or published without permission. Ankur is the co-founder and CEO of GreenThumbs. He is an HRTech enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. By education, Ankur is a Chartered Accountant. In addition to running his company, he is an avid reader and knowledge sponge.