Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies
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How you handle yourself as a manager during a workplace conflict speaks volumes and influences how your team will handle conflicts in the future. You’re definitely leading by example, so model the behaviors you expect from your staff:

  • Be invested in the people. Your team needs to know they can trust you and that you have their best interests in mind. Show your employees respect and consideration, and they’ll do the same for you.

  • Have a good track record. Employees look up to managers who have been able to provide consistency in creating stable, positive, and productive work environments. Your ability to get things done motivates others to look to you for leadership. Quickly address the issues over which you have direct control. Showing your team that you’re responsive to the small stuff sets the stage for when larger issues loom.

  • Show that you can provide support. Employees in a conflict environment need someone they can turn to and trust. Show that you’re able to provide support by listening and clearly capturing their concerns. Then let your team know that you’re voicing their concerns to the right people in the appropriate venues.

  • Show up every day with confidence and optimism. Coming to work with something good to say, in some cases, can mean the difference between loyalty and revolt. Prepare yourself for difficult days by doing what you can to help yourself stay calm.

  • Maintain trust. Trust is a key ingredient in leadership. Your team won’t look to you for advice or go along with your directives if they don’t trust you. And because most people need to see a pattern of experiences and actions before they’re willing to trust someone, it may take time to build a trusting relationship with your group.

  • Take care of yourself. Take some time to tap into a good support system and take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Make sure you have someone you can talk to and lean on. No one can handle the behaviors and emotions of a group in conflict alone, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Be careful, though, when you’re venting to make sure that you’re not sharing with someone who’ll only support your views and add fuel to the fire. Process your emotions with someone who can listen, be honest with his observations, and then help you look for creative options.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Vivian Scott is a Certified Mediator in private practice and a retired Microsoft marketing manager. She is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and volunteers as a mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties.

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