Conflict management and resolution are critical skills for business leaders. Managing conflict effectively can be difficult, however, because no two conflicts are ever the same and the nature of conflict is often unpleasant. If you are looking for new tools for your conflict resolution toolkit, here are three articles from around the web to help get you thinking about your approach:
Healthy Conflict, Healthy Company
Avoiding conflict is often the biggest mistake that a leader can make. In the archives of the Vistage blog, you can find the article, “Common Mistakes That CEOs Make: Avoiding Conflict” by Cheryl McMillan that addresses this point. She takes the position that conflict is directly related to the health of an organization. Knowing how to manage conflict resolution in a healthy way will lead to a healthy company.
Further, she explains that conflict resolution is also tied to company culture. She writes, “Cohesive teams have mastered the art of conflict resolution. In my experience, conflict is most commonly avoided when it involves an employee’s or Executive’s behavior. Behavior is another name for culture and culture always trumps everything else. Your organization can’t be healthy unless you address behavior that is not consistent with your strategic framework and value.”
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Clash of the Titan Personalities
Workplace conflict comes in many forms, but one of the most common conflicts involve personality clashes. It is impossible to expect that all members of a team will like each other as people. Overcoming personality conflicts to ensure a healthy work relationship is almost always easier said than done. On The HR Bartender Blog, human resources expert Sharlyn Lauby tackles conflicts of personality in her article, “6 Critical Qualities of Self Management: Part 4 – Handling Personality Conflicts.”
The key to overcoming these types of conflict is to take the “person” out of “personality” and take a few steps back from the situation. “One way to examine personal conflict situations is to take the person out of the equation and look at the circumstances creating the conflict,” she writes, “For example, is the conflict surrounding something that needs to be done? Maybe goals and objectives aren’t aligned? Or are there differences in the methods, research and analysis being used?” Separating personal egos from the conflict can help give a better understanding of what’s really driving the situation, and can help create objective perspective and point towards the path of resolution.
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You can follow Sharlyn Lauby on Twitter @hrbartender
Devil’s Advocate Or Just Plain Devil?
As a coach, I firmly believe in the role of the devil’s advocate when it comes to group decision-making. These individuals ensure that diverging opinions and “what ifs” are brought to the table. However, there is difference between a devil’s advocate and a combative individual. It can be difficult for managers and leaders to know how to handle these types of employees.
In a piece on the Talent Culture blog titled “The No Fear Approach To Handling A Combative Employee,” conflict management expert Jagoda Perich-Anderson tackles this very conundrum. She offers managers and leaders actionable steps to help them manage difficult personalities in a constructive, confident way that can help the employee modify his or her behavior.
You can follow Talent Culture on Twitter @TalentCulture