Team conflicts can lead to deteriorating working relationships, decreased motivation and even employee disengagement. A leader’s ability to respond to acute situations with understanding and a strategic approach determines the success of the team. And if you know about the right tactics, then building a loyal team will become even easier than winning at 9 Masks of Fire demo or cooking your favorite breakfast.
Here’s how a leader should build relationships with employees to effectively handle serious disagreements and be able to prevent them.
Practical Steps for the Leader
Building Trust and Identify the Root of the Problem
Understanding begins with asking questions to elicit the perspectives of those involved in the conflict. Questions should be open, encouraging colleagues to share their thoughts and feelings.
It’s worth saying out loud (or clarifying in writing if the dialog was conducted in mail or messengers) the key points to confirm your understanding of what was said. This not only helps clarify information but also gives participants confidence that their point of view has been correctly understood.
Facial expressions, gestures and other non-verbal means of communication can provide the leader with additional information about the feelings and emotions of the dialog participants. Correct decoding of these signals will improve understanding of the situation.
The leader should try to put himself or herself in the shoes of the participants in the conflict, understanding their feelings and motivations. Empathy will help create a deeper connection and facilitate the reconciliation process.
The goal is not only to find out the point of view of each participant in the conflict but also to find possible points of agreement. The leader should emphasize common goals and values and unite the team in finding solutions.
Developing Team Communication Skills
Effective communication is a key element of conflict management in a team. When employees can openly share information, team understanding is strengthened and opportunities for disagreement are reduced.
Oral communication training and workshops can help employees learn to express themselves clearly and persuasively.
A leader should encourage openness in the team by creating an atmosphere where thoughts and even criticisms can be freely shared. Regular discussions and brainstorming sessions help generate new ideas and prevent hidden conflicts.
In the process of finding a way out of a difficult situation, the team can use visual communication tools — charts, graphs, and even just drawings — for greater clarity.
Emotions can be a powerful driver of conflict. From irritation and frustration to fear and disappointment, emotions can distort perceptions and interfere with clear thinking.
Try to identify signs of emotional tension in your team and understand how emotions affect your colleagues’ behavior.
Manage your own emotions. Give yourself time to rest and analyze why you have certain reactions.
Encourage team members to share their feelings and thoughts with you.
Help team members understand each other better. Discuss conflict situations with them: why they occurred and what to do to avoid them in the future.
Be able to separate emotions from facts and problems. This will allow you to approach the situation rationally and find constructive solutions.
Emphasize positive moments and successes and don’t hesitate to praise the team. In this way, employees will associate work with positive emotions.
In tense situations, try to communicate correctly and constructively, emphasizing the importance of a respectful exchange of opinions.
Setting up Feedback
Be an example: show openness to new ideas and recognize your mistakes.
The easiest way to get feedback is through regular evaluation sessions or anonymous surveys.
Use electronic platforms for feedback and discussion. The easiest option is cloud-based forms. You can create a separate messenger chat or email account to which only feedback will be sent.
How to Choose an Appropriate Conflict Resolution Method
The choice of resolution method depends on the nature of the conflict, the personalities of the participants, the context, and other factors. Let’s look at a few methods that are appropriate for different situations:
The nature of the conflict: minor disagreements or differences of opinion.
Application: allows employees to discuss their points of view, listen to each other and jointly find a solution.
The nature of the conflict: the parties are ready to dialog, but a mediator is needed.
Application: A neutral third party helps the participants express their interests and find a compromise solution.
Assignment of Responsibility
The nature of the conflict: administrative action is needed to correct the problem.
Application: The manager can assign responsibility for specific aspects of the conflict and supervise the completion of tasks.
Training and Coaching
The nature of the conflict: the conflict is caused by misunderstandings or lack of communication skills.
Application: Training in communication skills, empathy, stress management can help participants understand each other better.
The nature of the conflict: all parties can benefit from a collaborative solution.
Application: exploring alternative solutions together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
The nature of the conflict: agreement must be reached quickly.
Application: the parties are willing to compromise their interests to reach an agreement.