Conflict resolution manager skills
Usually soft skills for managers tend to get far less importance by managers themselves. And yet, conflict in the workplace is a fact of life. Although, the good news is that, as long as it is resolved effectively, it can lead to personal and professional growth. The practice involves recognizing and dealing with disputes in a rational, balanced, and effective way.
We list some techniques that you can use for effectively managing conflict at work and gain new manager skills:
1. Listen for what is felt and said: When we listen, we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also strengthens us, informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us when it’s our turn to speak.
2. Make conflict resolution the priority: Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his/her viewpoint.
3. Focus on the present: If you’re holding on to grudges based on past resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the problem.
4. Be sensitive: Participants need to talk without putting each other on the defensive or coming across as accusatory. Especially when under the stress of a conflict, people will be quite sensitive to intended and non-intended statements of double meaning.
5. Be specific in giving feedback: Overly vague or broad statements do little to facilitate mutual understanding. Specific issues, or events, and what motivated each to act in certain ways, may be more useful.
6. Become a mediator: Validate both sides in order to provide a non-threatening learning environment. Actively discourage judgments as to who was right and who was wrong. Guide the conversation away from personal attack and towards a joint problem-solving approach. Encourage people to look for answers where everybody gets what they need.
7. Explore alternatives: It is important to brainstorm your alternatives to resolution early on in the negotiation process. The best alternative is always somewhere in the back of your mind. As you consider possible agreements with your opponent, compare them to this “best” alternative.
8. Be willing to forgive: Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
9. Know when to let go: If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.
10. Keep communication channels open: Conflict is usually the result of a break in communication between individuals. In order to avoid conflict situations in the future, it is important to encourage an environment in which people can “air” their thoughts as and when the need arises.