3 ways to lead your team through conflict
With the current political and economic uncertainty enshrouding our world, it’s time for business leaders to perfect the art of leading through a time of crisis.
Speaking to us earlier in the year, Andrew Mawson, MD of Advanced Workplace Associates, explained how the CEOs of today have to learn how to navigate through tumultuous times, in order to survive.
“The management of change and development within a business requires confidence,” he explained. “And the process of leading behavioural transformation and ensuring that staff remain engaged, beyond the physical walls of a workplace, is no easy feat...As the move from static to mobile working practices continues to be embraced by the knowledge industries, professionals need to change gear and unleash their inner workplace management gurus.”
In times of crisis, it’s incumbent on leaders to show solidarity and strength in order to inspire followership in their workers. Leading workers through a time or uncertainty and conflict can seem daunting – and there are plenty of directors who would agree with you. However, in mastering these skills you’re allowing yourself to stand out as an influencer, rather than a follower.
On the next page, we have detailed three ways to lead your team through a conflict; take a look and tell us your tips in the comments.
1. Find out the root cause of the issue
When a conflict arises in your team, the first thing to do is identify its origin. If two of your employees are arguing about a perceived slight, maybe they feel overlooked or underappreciated, then take some time listen and understand what each side wants. Amanda Steadman, a Professional Support Lawyer at Addleshaw Goddard, noted that if conflict does arise employers should be mindful of mediating correctly.
She added: “Each situation will turn on its own facts, now more than ever, employers must emphasise the importance of having a working environment in which different views can co-exist and where everybody's dignity is respected.”
2. Allow the employees to speak to each other in a controlled setting
When it comes to mediation, it’s less about arguing and more about letting each party have their say. The outcome isn’t going to be determined by who can shout louder. This time should be used as a soundboard for each worker to express their grievances whilst also listening to the other staff involved.
Andrew Dane, a mediation specialist, explained to Business Grapevine why leaders need to invest more time in listening to their workers. “Departments could benefit by the early implementation of mediation in the Workplace. Often mediation is only implemented when the problem has manifested itself and is more difficult to satisfactorily resolve.
“By engaging the services of qualified, experienced and accredited workplace mediators, or training in-house mediators to resolve conflict at an early stage, you can avoid costly adversarial litigation have a happier workforce and increase productivity and in the end augment the ‘bottom line’.”
3. Make a plan
Once the issues have been raised, sit down with each party and plan out what the next steps are. More often than not, the workers will have their own ideas about how they want to move forward, after listening to the opposing party. Ask each worker to commit to making certain changes, and schedule a follow-up meeting for next week. According to Cascade HR, one in five employees believe that official methods of resolution in conflict should be improved. The report found that the best way to do this was through team meetings and regular team-building activities.