Leadership – Dispute Resolution

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Many leaders hesitate to step into a conflict only because they wish to avoid taking sides. However, leaders need to realize that leadership is more about taking charge of the situation than opting to stay neutral in any given situation. Remember you cannot be a leader and command respect if you wish to stay away from controversies.

Your role as a leader vests you with a huge responsibility of leading and guiding people which also involves conflict management because once this area is left unaddressed it will ruin the whole environment and foster negativity. Since conflicts and disputes can have a negative impact on the moral of the employees it will ultimately have a negative impact on their productivity and performance.

Below we will guide on how to deal with conflict

Make the Right Diagnosis

Before you step into the situation, make sure you diagnose the situation objectively and clearly. Find out what the conflict is about.  Is the conflict about difference in management styles, leadership styles, personalities or opinions?

Decide on the Objectives you wish to Achieve

What is it that you wish to achieve in lieu of the conflict management? Do you wish to reach an amicable solution which is close to mutual state of agreement? Do you wish to reach a certain/particular decision/solution? Make sure that you work towards the solution with the objective in mind.

Identify the Disguised Opportunity in the Conflict

Remember there is always an opportunity in every conflict which arises. Do not be deterred by the negativity of the conflict and focus on the opportunity and positivity which it entails.

Know When and How to Intervene

Though there are times when a conflict can be managed and resolved without any intervention on the manager’s side yet there are times when a quick or late intervention is needed. You need to figure all this out along with gauging the impact this is having on the employees moral and productivity. Has the absenteeism rate increased, has the productivity gone down?

Though some conflicts may be healthy not all conflicts are healthy and may require immediate/late intervention. Signs that immediate intervention is required include

  • Low productivity level
  • increased absenteeism
  • Change in employee’s behavior
  • Increased stress levels

Embrace and Respect Differences

Once you commence on the task of resolving conflicts remember that you will have to embrace and respect different point of views. Leaders suggest that conflict resolution is never black and white in fact this is one area which is full of grey areas. Therefore, be prepared to hear diverse point of views and most importantly be patient and be prepared to embrace these.

Listen, Listen and Listen

Conflict management is more about listening than giving or imposing your opinions. Therefore, listen, listen and listen.

Note Down Key Observations

Since you have listened a lot by now, you must have arrived at some key points which are giving rise to conflict make sure you note these down

Sit Down with Everyone and Discuss

Once you have arrived at certain key observations sit every one down and present these. Give everyone an opportunity to be heard.

Explore all Possible Options

Since not everyone will agree on one option you will have to explore a variety of options. Therefore, explore all possible options.

Agree on the Most Amicable Solution

Agree on the most amicable solution the one which brings at least some relief to everyone involved in the conflict. Since, it wouldn’t be win win situation for any of the party involved all parties should be prepared to let go off at least something and agree on a solution which is acceptable to all.

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