A Guide To Leadership and Conflict Management

Conflict management is an ongoing job duty of a leader. Developing skills in managing conflict in the workplace through self-awareness, communication, respect, and appreciation for others skill set are important aspects of the leader’s role in ensuring conflict is managed and organizational goals are prioritized.

Conflict resolution typically addresses the current issue while leadership involves defining and communicating an organization’s long-term vision and mission. You set a good example for your organization by outlining your goals, supporting talented subordinates, overcoming challenges, seizing opportunities, demanding excellence, and acting ethically. An effective leader builds teams that work well together. As a team leader, you facilitate the resolution of conflicts that impede productivity, demotivate team members, and breed resentment and frustration. You also understand that some conflict is normal and required to generate creative solutions to problems, promote meaningful team communication, and foster cooperation. Utilizing the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, created by conflict resolution specialists Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann, you know how to handle conflict in your company the best way.

Resolving Conflict: How Real Leaders Do It

Why is conflict management important for leaders?

Conflict management is a skill that can assist leaders in building a successful team made up of team members who collaborate to develop strategies, achieve goals, and streamline procedures. There is a chance for conflict when you put a group of people with different personalities together, but having knowledge of and mastery over conflict management techniques can help you either completely avoid conflicts or quickly resolve them when they do arise.

Effective conflict management offers several advantages beyond just resolving conflicts. Some of the benefits of proper conflict management include:

Improved processes and stronger goals

If a team member’s disagreement with a goal or the methods for achieving it can be resolved, it may be possible to identify areas for improvement. You can allow team members to offer suggestions on how to resolve problems by employing a constructive method of conflict management that permits those on your team to speak openly about their problems. You can determine whether there is a chance for similar conflicts within your team by using their feedback to resolve problems.

Using this technique, you can also find ways to strengthen your designated goals or enhance your current procedures. This can assist you in achieving your objectives quickly and avert further conflicts.

Improved teamwork

If there are conflicts between team members, it can be helpful to try to create a situation where everyone involved can come to an amicable agreement. By settling disputes between two or more team members, you can assist them in finding methods of cooperation that boost spirits and output. Some of these techniques can even be used by the rest of the team, strengthening it as a whole as it strives to achieve common objectives.

Preventing future conflict

You can identify patterns that could cause conflict and use prior solutions to stop them from happening again by understanding conflict management and consistently coming up with constructive solutions. This guarantees that a project will move forward on schedule, boosts team morale, and even builds management trust.

What is the connection between leadership and conflict management?

Conflict management is a crucial leadership competency that enables managers to successfully uphold morale and productivity at work. When leading a team, there are typically two types of conflict that could arise:

There is typically an established agreement between team members and the goals assigned to them because achieving goals typically requires hard work from your team. As a leader, it’s beneficial to make sure your team comprehends these objectives and consents to work to achieve them. It’s also crucial to make sure your team members concur on the strategies for completing projects successfully.

Success also requires teamwork and clear communication. Making sure your team gets along with one another is one of your main duties as a team leader. Often, individuals with varying personalities comprise these teams. For projects to be successful, team members must be able to identify potential conflicts and quickly resolve them. Understanding conflict management can assist you in preventing problems from arising or resolving them so that your team can continue to function as a cohesive whole.

How to practice conflict management as a leader

Knowing your options as a leader is useful when engaging in conflict management. Here are some actions you can take to assist with conflict resolution when it occurs:

1. Assess the situation

Finding a solution as soon as possible is a leader’s duty in conflict management. This sometimes involves noticing a potential conflict before it occurs. For instance, talking to team members who appear to clash or helping a team member better understand a process they might be having issues with can help a situation.

Assessing the situation beforehand can help you come up with solutions for meetings with disputing team members if you intervene in an ongoing conflict.

2. Only intervene when necessary

Not all conflicts require intervention. Conflicts can occasionally be resolved amicably by team members, or they may be minor enough to not interfere with work. Consider only intervening if a conflict hasn’t been resolved by the disputing team members themselves or if it has persisted long enough that intervention is required.

3. Create guidelines

Try establishing rules that promote a more cordial workplace if you notice behavior that could cause future conflicts. For instance, think about promoting civil behavior among team members or creating a system of accountability for mistakes. Conflict can be avoided by outlining the conduct you anticipate from team members and holding them responsible for adhering to those standards.

4. Recognize causes of conflict

Your workplace’s morale could change as a result of external factors. Understanding specific conflict causes can help you avoid problems before they happen. For instance, some team members might need assistance adjusting if company processes change, while others might not. Establishing a training program to assist those who require guidance can boost morale and lessen the likelihood of a conflict occurring if it is known that this may lead to conflict.

5. Work together with conflicting team members

Work together with team members to find a resolution if you step in to resolve a dispute or if your team comes to you with a dispute and asks for your assistance. Take on the role of a mediator by assisting the team members who are at odds to comprehend one another’s concerns and find a resolution that benefits both sides.

6. Stay neutral

It’s critical that neither of the opposing team members feel like you’re working against them. It’s helpful to let both parties know that you’re remaining impartial while seeking a resolution. When attempting to resolve their dispute, letting them know that you want a solution that benefits both parties can assist them in developing trust.

Tips for conflict management in leadership

In addition to the actions you can take to manage conflict as a leader, there are some guidelines you can abide by when attempting to settle a dispute. These include:

Remaining calm

As a leader, you set the tenor and mood for discussions with your team members and meetings by resolving conflicts. Remaining calm can help ensure that conflicts remain professional.

Focusing on facts

Conflicting team members may pay more attention to the feelings involved in a situation than to the details and root causes of their problem. Everyone can find solutions that will improve their situation by concentrating on the facts.

Maintaining boundaries

Consider establishing workplace boundaries while resolving conflicts. This can assist your team members in acting in a way that prevents conflict. Maintaining these boundaries while seeking a resolution can help conflicting team members respect one another and comprehend the behaviors that transgressed boundaries and caused their conflict. Making sure that only parties involved in a conflict can discuss it as an example of workplace boundaries.

Establishing goals

Understanding what each party wants from a potential resolution among all parties involved in a conflict is beneficial. This may include the objectives you have for them as their boss, such as a successful or encouraging workplace. Team members can more easily solve problems in a way that benefits both parties by being aware of one another’s goals.


What is the best leadership style for conflict management?

The 5 Conflict Management Styles That Make a Great Leader
  • Collaborating.
  • Obliging.
  • Dominating.
  • Avoiding.
  • Compromising.

What are the 5 C’s of conflict management?

I’m specifically referring to a group of characteristics I refer to as the “5 C’s”—competence, communication, conflict (and the capacity to handle it), confidence, and conscience.

How can a leader improve conflict management?

How to practice conflict management as a leader
  1. Assess the situation. Finding a solution to a conflict as soon as possible is the duty of a leader in conflict management.
  2. Only intervene when necessary. …
  3. Create guidelines. …
  4. Recognize causes of conflict. …
  5. Work together with conflicting team members. …
  6. Stay neutral.

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