Every professional and every workplace will have to manage conflicts at some point or another: there is no escaping this truth. The key is to handle issues elegantly and effectively, whether you are addressing a conflict with one individual or a tricky situation plaguing the whole office.
By drawing on your strengths as a logical, strategic thinker, as well as putting your Executive Presence to use, you can solve any issue you are faced with. Below are a few strategies for managing issues and preventing further conflict in the future.
View any issue as a problem with an answer.
- Whatever the issue is, start by using logic. A workplace issue, no matter how complex or filled with passion and emotion, can be solved like a math problem.
Start by getting to the root of the issue. Does someone in the office feel threatened?
- Is there a problem of competition in your office? What about negative behaviour, such as gossip or bullying? Or, does the issue result simply from miscommunication?
- Before you move on to any possible solutions, it’s important to understand where the problem is coming from.
When approaching an issue, draw on your Executive Presence.
- Do not get flustered or distracted by the strong emotions ridden in the issue. Instead, exhibit grace under fire – a key component of Gravitas – by maintaining a confident, cool head and continuing to focus on the logic of the problem and solution.
- Another important element of Gravitas is decisiveness. Be decisive when dealing with issues: do not just leave a problem hanging and hope that it solves itself. Prolonging the situation will only make things worse. Take action, but only after careful consideration.
Communication can be both the problem and the solution.
- Communication – or lack thereof – is often the source of a workplace issue. Reflect on or ask those involved whether miscommunication could have contributed to the conflict at hand.
- Global Post’s Top Ten Communication Problems in the Workplace reveal that so many issues can stem from bad communication. Review this list and reflect on whether you have ever been affected by these forms of miscommunication, from confusing information to wrong communication methods applied to the wrong audience.
- Whether or not communication is part of the problem, it is always part of the solution. Communicate openly with all parties involved in the conflict, so that all perspectives are given equal attention and value. If necessary, communicate with Human Resources for further assistance in solving a problem.
How can you limit or prevent further issues?
- Besides striving for effective communication practices, how else can leaders in their organizations prevent issues from forming (or at least getting out of hand) in the future?
- Set workplace standards and ensure that all policies are clearly defined and enforced. This is important for confirming that all employees are on the same page and understand the functioning of the office. See our suggestions on implementing a policy for a scent-free office – these methods can apply to any policy.
- Foster a healthy, high-calibre and inclusive workplace culture. If employees are thriving and feel that they are contributing something valuable and meaningful to your organization, this will reduce the number of issues stemming from employee dissatisfaction. Also, employees will feel comfortable to reach out and seek solutions when problems inevitably arise.