How to coach managers through conflict

An article, written with HR professionals in mind, on coaching managers to deal effectively with conflict. By Julie French.

What an emotionally draining, time-hungry ‘beast’ workplace conflict can be!

When unchecked, situations that start off as a disagreement or a difference of opinion can pretty quickly turn into a clash of huge proportions affecting not just the individuals involved but contagiously spread throughout teams, departments and sometimes adversely affect whole organisations. Without the right management, behaviours that start out as innocent banter or even throw away comments often turn into arguments and disputes. Before you know it, the whole situation is raging out of control like a forest fire! The trouble is that many managers haven’t been adequately trained in the art and science of conflict management and therefore don’t know how to prevent disputes from occurring or resolve them at an early stage – essential skills in effective conflict handling.

Many managers tend to treat other people the way they want to be treated rather than understanding that other people are different from them with different needs, goals, fears and aspirations. Without these crucial insights, managers lack the flexibility to adapt their communication in ways that will prevent unhelpful conflict or nip tricky situations in the bud.

This article will help you to:

  • Learn to show empathy without collusion
  • Gain connection and trust through active listening and rapport
  • Adopt a question-based approach to resolving conflict
  • Keep people outcome-focused and within their circle of influence
  • Help others to take new perspectives

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