June 29, 2021

Conflict Resolution Skills to Use With Your Team

Sam Caucci

When managing a group of people there are no guarantees that there won’t be disagreements. But when you’re running a business, you don’t want the energy in the room to be tense or filled with other negative emotions that could affect productivity. This is why conflict management and resolution is important for you and everyone within your workplace. 

Conflicts are unavoidable. They are a natural part of both our personal and professional lives. Workplace conflicts crop up because it’s almost impossible for team members to always agree with each other, or to know how to work with each other despite their differences. 

If you want your team to work together efficiently, then conflicts need to be resolved in a timely and professional manner which helps minimize any and all disruptions to your business’ productivity. This ability to manage and resolve conflicts is a crucial aspect of running any successful organization. 

What is workplace conflict?

Conflict in the workplace arises when there are disagreements about goals, methods or the needs of the team. Conflicts can also occur when there are many different personalities trying to work together. In the beginning, these conflicts might seem ordinary, but over time failing to resolve them can hurt productivity and employee morale. When conflicts occur it’s important to address them and come to a mutual understanding which allows all team members to collaborate without issue. 

Different Types of Team Conflicts

There are four main types of team conflicts that are common at the workplace:

Task-based Conflicts

Task-based conflicts occur when team members are reliant on one another to complete a task or project. When one team member fails to complete their part, it can cause a domino effect that affects another team member’s ability to finish theirs on schedule. For example, if someone always turns in their reports late, this causes the bookkeeper to be late with their reports too. This can cause negative feelings towards team members who are seen as “not pulling their weight”. 

Leadership Conflicts

Conflicts can also occur due to differences in leadership styles, as everyone has their own way of leading a team. Some choose to be directive, while others are more inclusive and open to collaboration with their team. Managers should be self-aware of their leadership style and how they interact with their team members. You might find you need to make some adjustments to your leadership style in order to accommodate the needs and personalities of your team.

Work Style Conflicts

Just like leadership styles differ, so do work styles. Work style clashes occur when team members have different ideas on what should happen in order to complete tasks. Some people tend to work quickly to accomplish tasks as soon as possible, while others take a slower, more mindful approach to what they are doing. 

Personality Conflicts

Personality clashes are one of the most common types of team conflicts. These are caused by differences in personality in a team. You’re not always going to get along with others or like every person you meet, it doesn’t matter if they are your coworker or supervisor. It can be a challenge to work with someone who has a personality that clashes with your own. However, it’s important to be the bigger person to try to understand their differences and respect them so you can work together and keep things professional. 

What’s the difference between conflict resolution and conflict management?

Conflict resolution refers to providing creative solutions by resolving conflict in a constructive way. Conflict management is focused on providing tools in order to mitigate conflict from happening. Both are important in making sure the workplace is a healthy and thriving environment for everyone. 

Conflict Resolution Skills

Most conflicts that occur at work are due to misunderstandings and a lack of communication among the team, however once these issues are solved properly, team members can go back to developing better working relationships and are more productive. Here are some great conflict resolution skills to try during any workplace conflicts:

Keep Calm

When a conflict occurs and tensions rise, it’s important for everyone involved to stay calm and keep things professional. Focus on taking deep breaths and clearing your mind before you attempt to address a conflict. Create a plan to resolve the conflict between team members before tension gets a chance to grow and things get worse.

Communicate and Listen Effectively

It’s a good idea to find an area where the conflict can be discussed in private. This is important so that all parties involved can feel comfortable to share their side and to listen to what others have to say. Be attentive and practice empathy, and try to understand how others feel while still saying everything you need or want to say.

Recognize the Conflict and Look for a Resolution

Acknowledging conflict is part of healthy conflict resolution. Once the conflict has been identified, everyone involved will need to agree on reaching a solution. It’s important to try and view things from the perspective of other team members, as well as put focus on what you all agree on. This will help you understand where they’re coming from, how they feel and think, and how you can come to a resolution together.

Important Conflict Management Skills

Conflict management skills are also an important aspect of managing workplace conflicts. Here are a few examples:

Active Listening

Active listening means being attentive to what others have to say and it is a skill commonly utilized by salespeople in order to make connections with their customers during a pitch. Not only that, but it is a skill that any professional should master. The most important part of active listening is having an open mind. To practice active listening try to make note of someone’s phrasing and use similar phrasing in your response. This helps show that you were listening to them and clears up confusion about what is being discussed. And, be sure to ask questions if you’re unsure of a point and focus on identifying the other team member’s goals.

Patience

Conflicts are not usually as simple as they seem on the surface and they are rarely overcome quickly or easily. Conflict resolution is difficult to achieve because no one likes to be wrong and they will often keep holding their stance on an issue because of that. If you need to resolve a conflict with someone like this, then you will need patience. You will want to take the time to listen to every participant and value what everyone has to say. Even if the solution is clear, rushing to a resolution can make people feel unheard. Take time to consider all of the options as this will help you create a long-term solution.

Impartiality

One more reason that conflicts can be hard to resolve is that they rarely stay focused on the actual conflict itself. The conflict can serve as an opportunity for individuals to bring up past grievances which have developed between others over time. Now the current issue won’t be able to be solved without also addressing any historical issues as well. During this type of circumstance, it is best to separate the conflict from those who are involved. Try not to focus on the people and their characteristics, but look at the problem itself and its solution. You can always circle back and solve the older issues afterwards. More urgent issues should be handled first.

Train Your Leaders to Manage Conflict

If you’re looking for an effective and seamless way to train your team on the latest conflict resolution and management skills, then look no further than 1Huddle’s gamified training platform. 

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee training software where you can easily upload and customize your training content for a seamless training experience. All of your employees will have the ability to access their training anywhere, anytime, and at the push of a button. This helps make training engaging and up-to-date. You can use our game platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your training next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Start your free trial of 1Huddle today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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