As much as we all try to avoid it, conflict happens.
Even in the most well-gelled teams and positive work environments, conflict and difficult conversations will arise occasionally.
When this happens, it’s your duty as a manager to handle the situation as professionally and pro-actively as possible.
Don’t Try to Avoid it
When you spot a potentially awkward conversation or area of conflict, it is so tempting to cross your fingers and hope it just goes away.
Unfortunately, this approach usually makes things worse.
If you know there’s a conversation you need to have, a situation that should be addressed, do it promptly.
By doing this, you’ll prevent the situation spiralling out of control and may even resolve it very quickly and easily. The phrase “nip it in the bud” could be very aptly applied here.
Keep it Discreet
Whether you need to discuss under-performance with a particular person or mediate an area of conflict between two team members, it’s important to handle the matter as discreetly as possible.
People prefer to discuss difficult matters with privacy. Scheduling 1-to-1 meetings with the person or people involved shows respect and will ease tensions a little.
In a 1-to-1 situation, you’ll find that people speak more honestly. This will help you make progress towards a solution more rapidly.
Get Tools to Support You
There are ways to manage these kinds of tricky conversations, techniques for addressing very sensitive subject.
You’ll need to possess these sharp communication skills to navigate tricky conversations successfully.
That’s why we include the following modules on both our certified and uncertified management courses:
- communication & assertiveness
- managing performance
- managing conflict and tricky situations
By attending training, gaining the required knowledge, and benefitting from the experience of a seasoned management training professional, you’ll be equipped with a solid set of skills for handling the most delicate of conversations.
This 2-day course covers all 3 modules on communication and difficult conversations mentioned about.
In addition to the 3 modules above, this course has focused modules on:
– coaching your team
– values, cultures, and attitudes
– legislation, equality & diversity
These extra modules will also support you when handling challenging situations within your team.
Be Clear and Consistent
Although it’s crucial to be sensitive and where appropriate, sympathetic, it is equally important that you are very clear and consistent in your approach to managing conflict.
Be clear in communicating your questions, expectations, and suggested resolutions throughout.
Be consistent in how you handle all forms of conflict so that your team know what to expect.
Remember, it takes Practice
Handling difficult situations and conversations is never easy. What’s more, it takes practice to become confident navigating these tricky waters.
You may find that your first few encounters don’t run as smoothly as you hope. Don’t be discouraged; it will get better!
The most solid advice we can offer is to equip yourself with the appropriate communication skills and devise a policy for handling conflict early on.
Once you begin from this stance, you’re in an excellent position to reach a fair and favourable outcome.