The importance of conflict resolution skills

In today’s highly competitive and continuously changing business world, leaders need to ensure that they are able to effectively influence work situations to ensure productivity. Leaders need to have conflict resolution skills so that they can quickly identify potential problems and address them immediately. Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of all organizations, but how it is handled is what will separate successful leaders from mediocre managers. I just read an article by Gregory Smith that was very informative. Smith discusses nine ways to handle conflict which are:

  • To understand the situation – it is important for managers to gather all the facts before they start to resolve the issue.
  • Acknowledge the problem – a good leader will address an issue even if the employee/s that were involved state that they do not wish to pursue the matter.
  • Be patient and take your time – do not make hasty decisions, instead make sure to gather and evaluate all information.
  • Avoid using coercion and intimidation – if a problem is not solved, it will re-surface and be worse because it has festered.
  • Focus on the problem, not the individual – don’t let personal feelings get in the way. Instead find the root cause of the problem and solve it.
  • Establish guidelines – establish standards for how each person will conduct themselves in the meeting. For example, not interrupting the other person.
  • Keep the communication open – part of solving a conflict is being able to voice your opinions and being heard.
  • Act decisively – once you have gathered and analyzed all the available information, make a decision and act as quickly as possible.

I thought Smith did a great job of discussing all the aspects of conflict resolution. If you would like to read the article for yourself, I have provided the web address below.


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