Managing Conflict Productively
We’ve all avoided tough conversations to keep from hurting a friend or co-worker’s feelings. But whether we realize it or not, avoiding such a dialogue probably makes the situation worse. While the conflict may seem to disappear or be forgotten, it usually pops up again in an unexpected place or an inopportune time.
Conflict is a natural part of working in groups, because different people have different ideas and viewpoints. Effective leaders recognize that conflict can be a valuable part of the decision-making process, are comfortable with healthy conflict, and can effectively manage differences of opinion. Here are tips on how to manage conflict constructively in the workplace:
- Encourage debate and discussion but keep it focused on the business, not the individual.
- Be sure to step in and manage any conflict before it becomes unproductive.
- Don’t let fear of conflict keep you from debating important issues.
- Before you can lead others through conflict, you need to understand your own emotions and reactions. Learn what makes you tick and how to address problems without hurting others.
- Learn to be an assertive, not aggressive, leader. Be strong without being mean.
- Remember, it’s easy to find comfort among those who agree with us, but we can only grow among those who don’t.