Unresolved tension can take a serious toll on morale, productivity, worker retention rates and ultimately, the bottom line.
Professional leadership is “a full contact sport,” according to Forbes contributor Mike Myatt, who recently reminded managers that handling workplace conflict and facilitating resolutions comes with the territory. Bear in mind that unresolved tension can take a serious toll on morale, productivity, worker retention rates and ultimately, the bottom line. Luckily, you can improve your ability to deal with conflict even if you are not a born mediator. Here are some tips:
- Let go of the past: Career consultant Amy Jen Su writes in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) that many people are conflict-averse because of past negative experiences that left them feeling embarrassed or upset. “When I ask clients why they don’t want to have difficult conversations, it usually comes down to fear of experiencing those emotions again,” Jen Su writes. “Many have an ‘a-ha’ moment when they realize they’re no longer that younger version of themselves; they’re now a more seasoned, experienced person with new skills and know-how.”
- Look at the bright side: CIO magazine reminds us that conflict isn’t always a bad thing. If handled correctly, it can actually push a team toward bigger and better things. As a leader, it’s important to actively address brewing conflicts when they might lead to positive change, rather than squashing them entirely.
- Work toward goals: Jen Su also advises keeping a clear eye on your business goals whenever you have to address interpersonal or political issues. Your ultimate goal is not to make everyone is happy, but rather to ensure that the company’s needs are met.