Conflict Hit… Now What?

You were hoping for an easy day, weren’t you?

You know… those days where you get to work, know what you need to do, put out a couple of “small” fires, cross off most things on your list, and are able to leave feeling accomplished.

Instead, you came in, started on things like you had planned, and then it hit.

The conflict.

Really, this conflict could have been anything – personality differences among team members, non- compliance with policy, performance review issues, differences in goals… and the list goes on.

As the leader, you play a key role in resolving conflict. Knowing your conflict style, the general flow of how teams work, and how to promote collaboration are all key in how you assist in resolving conflict. We’ll be looking at these tools in the coming weeks.

But for now, here are a couple of key questions to think through when conflict arises:

  • What is the literal situation you have been presented with?
  • What could be at the root of the conflict? (fear, insecurity, anger, confusion, etc.)
  • Who does the conflict involve?
  • What are different concerns, hopes, and fears?
  • Who needs to be present during resolution conversations?
  • What could potential resolutions look like?

We’d suggest considering these questions before addressing the conflict.

Openly identifying the situation, your position, and what resolution could look like will help to create a sense of peace and clarity – even in some of the most difficult conflicts.

Smarter, not Harder

Dogbert the Generic Manager

There’s a reason why an enormous amount of Dilbert cartoons deal with ‘working smarter, not harder’. I’m confessing to a personal pet peeve here shared (I think) by many managers. It implies that I wasn’t working smart (seriously? Like I enjoy working dumb?) and my hard work was time wasted. Okay, maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but let’s talk about better ways to coach yourself and others to truly work smarter, not harder.

  • Diagnose the problem – Is there truly an overload of work? And if so why? Consider the factors of time, resources, skill, and support. What’s missing or lower than it should be to accomplish the project?
  • Inform – Communicate and collaborate to get agreement on the priorities. Ask for assistance where needed. Tell the team what you’re doing so they can plan their work accordingly
  • Delegate or contract – Move things that can be done by others to others. Eliminate unnecessary tasks or portions of the project
  • Get to work – All the above will only get you so far. After doing all that, get to the tasks at hand and start moving

Though not like this:

Bruce

More like this:

keep_calm_ORANGE