Developing an Effective System for Conflict Resolution

A passionate workforce is absolutely required to have a successful business. But with passion can often come conflict; a situation most people naturally try to avoid.

The trick to growing your business will be to actually encourage conflict in the right situations, while preventing the wrong kinds of conflict from dragging down team morale or fostering more serious problems.

Distinguishing Productive Conflict From Destructive Drama

Because conflict can be a battleground to find the best ideas on how a group should move forward, a meeting leader must not shy away from the first signs of conflict. Instead, try to determine if it is a productive conflict, with constructive criticism, or if it is destructive drama, with subjective or personal attacks.

Experience may be the best guide here. You will know which type of conflict your workplace engages in by seeing the fruits of those conflicts.

Productive conflict usually results in the best ideas bubbling to the top. Business goals are achieved, and the decisions reached will usually have a majority of the group’s approval. However, if most meetings result in weakened morale, less productivity, and a lack of communication in future meetings, you’ll know you’ve been witnessing selfish, destructive drama taking place during your meetings.

Which type of conflict you see should determine your response to it.

Foster Productive Conflict

Productive conflict must be encouraged. Remind team members that their thoughts are valuable additions to the conversation being had. All ideas should be given, so that a team can choose from a large pool of ideas which are the best ones worthy of further consideration.

To help people loosen up and contribute to a decision-making process, try starting with a WIFLE session: “What I Feel Like Expressing.”

As each person gives their opinion or shares their general feelings for the moment on a particular business subject, teams can work through issues without having drama build up. By establishing rules for when each member is allowed to share their mind, there should be less opportunities for a confrontational build-up to occur.

Furthermore, any potential sources of disagreement must be talked about. If people’s opinions are ignored in a meeting, chances are those opinions will reappear as less-constructive gossip later on. By purposefully bringing these tough issues out into the open, everyone will have an opportunity to speak their mind and judge what the next best course of action is. As ideas and conversation flow, you’ll see a team building trust in each other and their shared capabilities.

Resolve the Destructive Drama

When most conflict at your workplace is leading to bruised egos and a loss of productivity, a leader must be willing to step in to stop the destructive behavior. When there is proof that such activity is occurring, any hesitation to stop it is a failure of leadership.

While most leaders can encourage team members to simply say they’ll cease repeating destructive behavior, resolving the reasons these conflicts occur in the first place often takes more time, thought, and dedication on the leader’s part.

Differences in pay and/or responsibilities between co-workers often lead to hostile behavior or gossip meant to harm someone’s self-image. The source of this behavior could usually stem from an insecurity held by the aggressor. Identify this behavior and cease it when it’s first seen by offering ways to assist in that person’s professional development instead. When an insecurity is addressed through self-improvement, it usually disappears.

Destructive gossip could also begin whenever it comes time to decide who will receive a job promotion. Try to prevent this early by having transparent and well-communicated measures to determine when and how a promotion has been earned. Give honest advice to people seeking a promotion about what improvements you expect to see them complete by the next time other promotions become available.

Lead by Example

Your actions as a business owner and leader should try to create a business culture that values exploring new ideas and is willing to defend the good ideas offered by other team members. When people see you actively gathering thoughts and opinions, they will know you see value in the insights of every member of your team.

By knowing what is on the minds of your people, you can help prevent the spread of gossip that threatens to flare up into drama.

Experience is often the best teacher when it comes to these types of life lessons, but the advice offered by our certified professional business coaches at ActionCOACH RGV can give you a short-cut to recognizing when these learning moments are occurring and how to resolve them amicably.

RGV Business owners... Take action and develop systems, grow your business, improve cash flow, and increase your revenue by connecting with our certified business coach today!