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Conflict Management Skills: How to Manage Conflict Like a Pro

High performance teams know how to embrace and manage conflict. In any organization, conflict is inevitable. It is just a matter of how you resolve it. If not handled properly, conflicts can significantly impact the relationship between employer and employee or leader and team members. It could result in mistrust, lower morale, and eventually lead to decreased motivation and productivity of everyone involved. At its worst, it could lead to leaders or employees quitting or leaving the organization. 

Conflict management skills are necessary for you to manage conflicts more effectively. These skills allow you to identify conflicts and handle them fairly, sensibly and efficiently. If you have the skills to manage conflicts, you will be able to promote a culture where conflict is acceptable and used positively in achieving your overall goals.

5 Practical Tips to Effectively Manage Conflicts in the Workplace

1. Be patient

Managing conflicts entails a lot of patience with everyone involved. You need to be patient in hearing each side’s point of view and spend time understanding what the conflict is all about, who are the parties involved, and other relevant information. Being patient yourself allows you to avoid conflicts because you are more likely to show empathy and understanding to other people around you. 

2. Understand nonverbal cues

People who are in conflict typically use nonverbal cues to communicate or convey their frustration and other negative emotions. Examples of nonverbal cues include facial expressions, body movement, eye contact, and paralinguistics (pitch of voice) among others. Being able to pick up these nonverbal cues allows you to understand what’s going on around you.

3. Show impartiality

When you are in the middle of two conflicting parties, it’s important to remain impartial, even if one party is closer to you. If you feel you can’t be impartial, ask someone to meddle and manage the conflict. Being impartial means advocating for what should be or what is right regardless of who will be affected.

4. Be willing to hear both sides

When managing a conflict, it is also important to hear both sides and be willing to discuss the situation. Discussion is important to prevent the negative impact of conflict from spreading in the entire workplace. Give each side time to speak and be heard. 

5. Give reference to company values

At the end of the day, it’s the company values that matter. So whenever there is conflict, it helps to always give reference to what your company values say about the situation. Giving reference to company values also allows you to be consistent in how you resolve conflicts. And when you are consistent, it improves your integrity in the workplace.

Important Conflict Management Skills 

Conflict management is not easy. However, if you have conflict management skills, you are most likely to get better results.

  • Communication skills – When in the middle of a conflict, parties tend to become more sensitive to what they hear. Your communication skills can help in this situation as it allows you to communicate the message clearly and avoid misunderstandings
  • Active listening skills – As a conflict manager, you should know when to listen and when to talk.
  • Emotional intelligence – Emotional intelligence helps you become empathetic while also becoming impartial.
  • Problem-solving skills – This is a must because managing conflict is about solving problems fairly.
  • Ability to maintain a positive attitude – As conflict is oftentimes shrouded with negativity, staying positive can motivate others to do the same. Being positive-minded also helps you properly think and make better decisions.

If you think that you need to sharpen your conflict management skills, there are programs and training programs designed for this purpose. At Change Works, we have developed an effective workshop on conflict management, and it is helpful for anyone who wants to improve his or her conflict management skills.