On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately, with conviction, bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.
It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.
I hope you find the suggestions below helpful and when you face conflict (which you will), you and your team will thrive!
How to Thrive in the Face of Conflict
by Elise Mitchell – original article adapted
- Act quickly. Get to the heart of the issue as quickly as possible. Unresolved conflict will escalate and cause additional problems as it grows.
- Understand the situation. Speak directly to those involved, listen well, and pose clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand what’s going on.
- Keep it contained. Don’t allow others to get drawn into the negativity. Advise only those who are directly involved.
- Peel back the layers. Be sure every issue is on the table. Conflicts often have multiple layers, and their root cause could easily go unspoken.
- Stay engaged. Some peoples’ flight instincts kick in when things escalate. Don’t let this happen to you or your employees. Keep everyone engaged all the way through to the resolution.
- Find common ground. Focus primarily on what the involved parties have in common. This will lead to mutually beneficial resolutions.
- Move forward. Communicate what you expect going forward, and hold others accountable for these changes.
- Check in. Periodically assess the success of your solutions. Make adjustments as needed to ensure continued progress.
The idea of confronting and quelling conflict can be nerve-wracking to some leaders, but ignoring it or delaying its resolution will only make things worse. Rarely do these things work themselves out, and whatever solution you reach will undoubtedly improve your workplace and bottom line.
Like it or not, conflict resolution comes with your leadership role. Monitoring and addressing conflict as it arises will ensure a happy, present, and productive workforce for your company.