We’ve heard a great deal in recent weeks about FEAR-based leadership but we’ve also heard a great deal about the disastrous fall-out it has. Its not that other forms of management and leadership don’t sometimes result in conflict but the outcomes of well managed conflict can be positive.
Managing people is synonymous with managing conflict because we are hard wired to conflict. Is it unavoidable and inevitable. This is why almost a third of every manager’s time is spent on dealing with conflict. However, most manager’s don’t feel confident managing conflict and their direct reports believe their managers rarely deal with the tensions that create it in the first place.
The ability to recognise conflict, understand the nature of it and intervene early to bring swift and sustainable resolution, will serve you well as a manger. Your inability to do so may be your downfall as conflict will normally escalate, unless managed well, into the kinds of problems we too commonly see in workplaces including, poor workplace behaviours, low morale, absenteeism, presenteeism, allegations of bullying/harassment, low productivity, loss of talent etc..
The challenge of workplace conflict is how it is managed. Despite the recently widely espoused effectiveness of leading with FEAR!, this type of management or even that of conflict avoidance, is more likely to grow into resentment and disengagement or cause factional fighting within an organisation.
In my experience the root cause of workplace conflict is normally born out of poor communication or the inability of managers to deal with conflict early. How many times have you either ignored a conflict and hoped it would go away only for it to escalate and create further problems, all of which eat away at your time and resources. Or alternatively, when you have tried to address a conflict and find yourself drawn into taking sides and making matters worse.
Every manager needs to develop effective conflict management skills and develop the confidence to find the hidden opportunity in conflict. The first victim of every conflict is communication. Sometimes parties need a third party to help them to reopen communication and talk the problem out. Every manager needs the skills and tools that enable them to do this without getting drawn into the situation.
Managerial Mediation is a practical tool that provide managers with a framework in which to enable their direct reports to communicate in a way that leads to resolution of conflict in a sustainable way.
Managers do not need to become qualified mediators in order to use mediation techniques. They can be provided with simple frameworks that are easily acquired to underpin their management of conflict, making best use of the significant amount of time they spend on it, and will continue to do, if we are to believe that conflict is inevitable and needs to be embraced positively.
For information on Managerial Mediation training see:
We look forward to hearing from you.