5 Strategies to Address Conflict as a Manager

conflict at work

Part of being a leader is dealing with conflict. Conflict is inevitable. Members of your team will disagree with you or with each other. Conflict can be actually be an impetus for change if handled correctly. It can offer opportunities for change and for team members to know each other better.

But how do you address conflict well? Here are 5 strategies to address conflict well.

DISCUSS PROBLEMS OPENLY: It does no one any good to let the problem fester. Get the problem out in the open. Address the conflict. Begin the discussion so that you can define the problem.

IDENTIFY DIFFERENCES AND POINTS OF AGREEMENT: Once the problem is defined, identify the points that you agree on. Finding common ground will help you to work together. Follow that with by identifying the differences in your perspectives. That way you delimit what the conflict is actually about.

BUILD UNDERSTANDING FOR OPPOSING POINTS OF VIEW: After you have identified differences and points of agreement, state back exactly what you believe the point of view of the other person to be. Then make sure they do the same. Doing so ensures that each side understands where the other is coming from and can often offer opportunities for further clarification.

REDUCE DEFENSIVENESS: Throughout the whole process, be sure to keep cool, stay calm, and keep your emotions out of it. If necessary, take a break so either side can calm down.

BEGIN MUTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING: After you’ve gone through all the preceding steps, identify a list of alternatives that is satisfying to each of you.

Conflict isn’t always easy, but it is part of leadership. What is more important than whether you have conflict is how you handle conflict as a leader.

What other strategies have you found to be effective in dealing with conflict?

About Bill Treasurer

Bill Treasurer is a bestselling author, leadership consultant, and creator of Q Cards. He is the founder of Giant Leap Consulting, a courage-building company, and the author of the international bestseller, Courage Goes to Work. His workshops have been taught to thousands of executives in eleven countries on five continents. For more than two decades, Bill has designed and delivered programs for emerging and experienced leaders from such organizations as NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lenovo, eBay, UBS Bank, Spanx, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to founding Giant Leap Consulting, Bill served as an executive in Accenture’s change management and human performance practice, eventually becoming the $35 billion company’s first full-time internal executive coach.

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