Conflict is inevitable within the workplace. This is especially true given that the modern workplace actively aims to encourage a diversity of backgrounds, political leanings, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. That diversity results in a broader range of ideas and innovation. The challenge that it creates is that it also means that there will be times where personalities clash.
One of the most important abilities that any 360 Degree Assessment tool should focus on is making sure that the company’s managers can step in when conflict occurs.
What are some of the signs that a manager is good at conflict resolution? It’s all about the approach they take, with the goal of diffusing the conflict and achieving an outcome that is beneficial for all parties
A good leader listens, and puts aside their own position
We all have our own biases and points of view, but a good leader will put that aside to focus on the conflict in detail. They will also restrict their role to listening as much as possible, facilitating the conversation and allowing both sides to hash out the conflict themselves. A good leader will only asset themselves when both sides of the conflict need further guidance.
Conflict should be resolved face-to-face and 1-to-1
Airing “dirty laundry” in a public setting must be avoided. Conflict should be resolved in one-on-one sessions. It should also be handled in person. These days, with video conferencing and working from home it can be tempting to try and handle these meetings remotely, but you really need to be able to see the full range of gestures and emotions to get to the heard of the conflict, which can only be achieved in person.
Get the whole team involved in building the “rules of engagement”
Most companies will have formal processes for conflict resolution but getting your team to collaborate on a plan for how the team will work together will give each person on the team a sense of agency. This will help ensure that everyone is aligned on how they should work together and help mitigate against the risk of conflict occurring in the first instance.
Understand the difference between positive and toxic conflict
A good manager will actively encourage positive conflict (e.g., employees having a productive disagreement about a project) and step in quickly to address toxic conflict (e.g., bullying and harassment, or the office contrarian that argues for the sake of it). It’s important to be able to differentiate the two, because some poor managers will allow positive conflict to turn toxic, but when pressed on the matter suggest that their combative, competitive environment yields positive results.
A 360 Degree assessment tool is an excellent way for an organisation to monitor the conflict resolution capabilities of its staff. There are few forces that can have a greater impact on an organisation than poor conflict resolution: in a best-case scenario it hurts morale and productivity. More likely, however, it results in significant staff churn and even open the organisation up to legal action. Ensuring that the management team is capable of best practice conflict resolution is the best way to protect your organisation.