Conflict Resolution:
5 Best Practices for Leaders


Conflict-Resolution-Best-PracticesAs a leader, what are your best practices in conflict resolution? Let me ask you this: How much time do you spend putting out fires, particularly interpersonal ones?

If you’re anything like the leaders I work with, it’s probably in the ball park of 20%. That may feel like a lot, but consider the alternative: unresolved conflict leads to disruption, disunity, lowered morale and diminished productivity.  That’s why it’s imperative that leaders become astute in conflict resolution.

When I discuss this with my coaching clients, we talk about the importance of leader as facilitator. Their role is to guide the process by using effective steps that people will understand and follow. Here are five of the best practices for leaders:

  1. Resolving conflict is a private matter between the opposing employees and their leader. It is a personal encounter conducted by the leader, with the goal of helping each person take away value and agreement.
  2. The leader affirms the values and principles everyone in the organization is to strive for, which includes teamwork, cooperation and fairness.
  3. A mediation process is used to hear out each side, value their perspectives and help each party understand the viewpoint of the other.
  4. The leader guides each participant to offer viable solutions. The suggestions are reviewed, modified and discussed until an agreement can be reached. This is generally not as difficult as it may appear. Solutions are often simple, but people in conflict often don’t see them without help.
  5. The parties are led into an implementation and follow-up process where progress can be monitored and reviewed. This is a critical time for strong support from the leader.

Leaders who have developed softer skills will have the most success in conflict resolution. Your empathy, authenticity and active listening are critical in developing trust in you, and the process. Hone these skills, and apply them in your conflict resolution.

What do you think? What are your best practices in conflict resolution? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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