Many bosses and leaders today need to focus on conflict resolution between individuals or teams more so than ever. But they are not ready. (Gartner Research) It no longer works (and never did) to rely on “Do as I say.” Or ignore conflicts and difficult employees while hoping the issue will take care of itself. While some will fire the perceived offender, this doesn’t resolve the real issue since it takes more than one person to create conflict.
Unresolved conflict is like a virus – it spreads invisibly into everything we do – and causes top talent and customers to leave!
Reasons conflict resolution has become a top issue during 2024 for bosses and leaders:
- Taking comments and situations personally
- Unaware of the negative impact they have when not doing their work as required
- Unwilling to value the facts over gossip, lies, and innuendos
- Upset when they feel unfairly treated (I’m right, and they’re wrong)
Boss and Leaders lack the following:
- Willingness to be effective and instead focus on likability (not rocking the boat)
- Ability to create win-win-win results (I’m the boss, and I’ll do it my way)
- Skills or interests to get to the core of the real issue(s)
- Objectivity is required, and instead, listen to the “loudest” or “favored” person or group
- Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills are required to effectively manage brainstorming sessions and allow for differing opinions to create new solutions – when this is not managed effectively, it is experienced as conflict
Addressing conflicts requires getting to the core upset or issue. This can be difficult due to the various communication styles and skills in today’s workplace. Additionally, perceptions of how co-workers, bosses, and customers should talk and behave are traditionally handed down through family cultures, communities, and religious beliefs.
The solution? Everything can be resolved through communication. Often, you are unwilling to talk it out and resolve conflicts because you dismiss other’s thoughts and feelings as unimportant.
Three Key Communication Skills
Listening Skills. Focus on listening, being present, and hearing what others are saying. Listening takes awareness and lots of practice. It requires being present during conversations and not letting your mind wander. It’s especially difficult when you cite, “I’m too busy,” and fail to listen!
Remember, the longer a conflict goes on, the more mischief, factionalism, and other costly challenges occur (offsprings of the original issue). It’s important to unravel the core problems before you move forward. These conflicts do NOT go away on their own without working through the facts.
It’s up to you as the boss and leader to exemplify the skills required! To improve listening and reduce misinterpretations during meetings (a significant source of conflicts), a good place to start is with no “cell phones” allowed during meetings! Hold your supervisors, managers, and management team accountable and responsible for doing the same! Employees will follow your lead.
Speaking Skills. Many employees have limited speaking skills in the workplace for various reasons (e.g., different primary languages, fear of voicing their ideas, and remote and hybrid work concerns). Learn to speak slowly and carefully and engage all team members during meetings, virtually and onsite. Keep your word choice simple and be able to use synonyms (similar words and phrases) to help employees and team members understand what you’re saying.
Stay away from sound bites or using jargon. When explaining decisions you’ve made, be prepared to answer questions without diminishing any question as unimportant. When you humiliate one team member, others will side with them — causing instant conflict.
Influential leaders know that miscommunication is one of the top reasons for employee conflicts today! The words you choose and whether or not you listen make a big difference in causing or managing conflict. It takes less time to ensure everyone is on the same page today than to deal with tomorrow’s conflict.
Non-Verbal Gestures. While verbal and written skills are essential, non-verbal skills account for 80 percent or more of what people hear (e.g., tone of voice, hand gestures, head nods). Given that interpretations of gestures are often based on family and community cultures, one gesture may mean one thing to one person and something different to another. Take the time to talk through these differences. It’s time to listen and learn.
Three Key Solutions to Diminish Conflict
Hire Yourself an Executive Coach. Many leadership blind spots can create conflicts. Address them as they occur and work through them. You’ll become a more decisive leader and boss.
Training and Development. To reduce conflicts, close the communication gaps. This requires investing money to create onsite workshops and video training libraries. Hold everyone accountable for developing and using these skills—especially all leaders, bosses, and supervisors.
Use a Qualified Job Fit Assessment. How do qualified job fit assessments reduce conflicts and improve communication? They help team members understand objective differences in each other. They also provide a foundation for those difficult conversations about difficulties experienced when working with each other. For example, with objective data, employees are less defensive about traits that impede team progress (e.g., a hyperactive employee attempting to work with an employee who fails to meet deadlines).
Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select Partner for over 31 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about this state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tool or how to coach and manage your people to achieve extraordinary results.
A note from Jeannette: Conflict resolution has become one of the top 2024 issues bosses and leaders must address! But many are not ready to do so for a variety of reasons … and I’ve seen too many to count. Want to tap into my 31++ years of experience? Contact me now with your questions!
It’s time to get honest and genuine! Are there days you dread managing people, projects, and your team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has their blind spots! NOW is the time to get the guidance you need to make the right changes for 2024. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully. The bonus is that they achieve unprecedented results. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.