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Do You Make These Common Conflict Management Mistakes?

Posted by Gorey, Aoife at Wednesday, 12/05/2012 10:48 am
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Relationship experts sometimes encourage couples to fight. Some topics need to be argued out and fights can actually strengthen a relationship. Your organization will also face conflict. Anytime a group of people come together, there will be some level of differing in opinions.

Diversity is essential to building a successful team, which means your team is also likely to face conflict. Knowing how to deal with conflicting personalities and working styles will help make you a better manager. (Read more on: Employee Conflict.)

According to an article on, “conflict isn’t just natural—it’s productive. That happens only when people know how to handle it well.” The trouble is that most managers are never taught how to manage conflicts at work. They develop the skills to become an expert in their job, but they lack formal training in the people skills they are just expected to pick up as they go. Learn how to manage conflict by avoiding these common management mistakes:

1. Inaction
Ignoring team conflicts will not make them go away. Unfortunately, this is the method most managers choose for dealing with workplace conflict. Over half reported to a Roffey Park survey that “inaction” was their organization’s main method of conflict resolution. This is such a popular choice that 35 percent of mangers would rather parachute jump than address a problem with a colleague. Even 8 percent would rather eat bugs. But inaction can sabotage your organization. If a problem goes unresolved, it will grow into resentment that can derail future projects even after the nature of the dispute becomes irrelevant. Inaction will lead to tense relationships between your employees.

2. Competition
Many people avoid conflict out of fear. They don’t want to deal with a conflict because they are afraid they’ll lose. Fear begins when managers view conflicts as “something they can’t control and are unlikely to win.” Take the element of competition out of the conflict and you will be able to assess the situation from a calmer, neutral viewpoint. If winning is your only goal, your conflict may never end. Put the goals of your company above your personal preferences. This means tucking your pride and facing problems head on. Removing the element of competition will also help you evaluate whether it’s a personality or organizational issue that you must solve.

For the third point, read the rest of the original article on the Workplace 101 Blog.
How do you manage team conflict at work?

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