Leaders are tasked with many different hats to wear, but one of the most significant responsibilities of a leader is to mediate and empower others to resolve their conflicts. These can range from disputes between colleagues or even employees having conflicts with management or upper-level employees.
Your job as a leader is one of great importance.
“Many leaders would rather avoid tension to create the appearance of harmony. What they don’t realize is that by avoiding tension all together they are unknowingly creating silos and internal disruption amongst employees.” (Forbes) The way you handle conflicts reflects on your character and the company culture you would like to portray.
While conflict resolution is never fun, it is crucial.
Genuine relationships, in and out of the office, are tested by conflict and the two parties’ ability to agree. After coming out on the other side, relationships tested by conflict are stronger and more trustworthy. “Effective leaders know that the most authentic relationships with their employees, clients, and external partners don’t truly begin until they experience some form of tension with them.”
As a leader, your job is to prepare other to face their conflict head-on with tact, grace, and impeccable timing.
If they address the conflict without enough evidence, it’s hard to have a solid foot to stand on. If they handle the conflict too late, they run the risk of others thinking you are trying to avoid it, which will not help them have influence in the workplace among their peers. “Timing is everything when it comes to managing conflict, and the best time to take action is when there is hard evidence/proof that an employee has a track record of wrongdoing that is negatively impacting the performance of others.” (Forbes)
With the amount of diversity in today’s workplace, it is easy for there to be conflict.
Leaders have the unique responsibility of trying to see from others’ perspectives while working to empower other to resolve their conflict. When you try, you can always learn something from seeing something from another person’s point of view, even if you still disagree in the end. “Rather than impose your influence, hierarchy, or rank – respect the unique differences in people. Learn to see things from differing points of view so you can better understand how to empower other to avoid conflict in the future.” (Forbes)
In conclusion, empowering other to resolve conflict as a leader is a vital skill that you can grow as you get more experience. No matter what–it is never the best solution to ignore conflicts. Your team needs to know that you, as a leader, can mediate situations as necessary for the workplace to function smoothly and efficiently.