Conflict, whether the result of a negative interaction or positive change, can be a waste of time, energy, and productivity if not handled promptly and efficiently. All business owners will face conflict to some varying degree while operating a company and should know how to swiftly resolve tension that could steer their business off course. Here are some tips for diplomatically managing conflict.
Do not shy from conflicts as they arise. Conflict by nature feels tense and uneasy, making it difficult to face head on. Yet, think of conflict as a fast-growing vine. The quicker you address the matter, the less the problem can grow. For example, if your company is expanding – which is definitely good news – some employees may feel uneasy about any changes that are taking place. Hold a staff meeting to immediately quell concerns and answers questions about the changes taking place. This direct approach will keep conflicts at bay as your company grows.
Do not let your emotions guide you as you wade through information and determine the root of the conflict. Reserve passing judgment until you have spoken with all parties involved, and you are able to assess a clear picture of the conflict.
Be A Good Listener
Talk to your partners, investors, colleagues, and employees when they appear to have concerns. Keep in mind that conflict can appear in the form of anger, distrust, antagonism, or any kind of concern. To resolve the conflict appropriately, you must understand what is bothering the people you rely on to help you operate your company successfully. Take the time to talk with the people involved in the conflict and listen carefully to their concerns.
The best resolutions are the ones that make all parties involved feel as though they benefit – in other words, implement a win-win situation to resolve conflicts. Talk separately with all parties involved to gain the facts and assess the best resolution, leaving everyone involved feeling at ease. Granted, you cannot always please everyone, by you can certainly make everyone feel heard and respected.
In order to move forward, everyone must be willing to give in a little and make a commitment to change. Understand that it may take awhile for all parties to let go of any anger or tension they feel. Follow up with each person involved to let them know that you care about the conflict and want to make sure they feel that it has been resolved. Seeing your commitment to guiding them through resolution will make your company’s key players feel understood and appreciated – a great catalyst for positive change.
While it is important to remain objective and encouraging, it is also imperative that you set clear expectations for conflict resolution. You establish the tone and culture in your company’s workplace. Send a clear message on how you want employees and staff to handle conflicts as they arise and that only respect for others, customers, and the work environment will be tolerated.
Be A Good Model
Rest assure, you will likely have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate to your staff how you handle conflict. When they see that you are swift, diplomatic, and solution-oriented, your staff will feel safe and well-equipped to quell their own conflicts, lending their hand to creating and maintaining a positive work environment.