Florin Lungu - 5 Steps to Masterfully Handle Conflict

As leaders, we celebrate the differences among our team members.

A well-performing machine needs all kinds of parts to function properly. If the world only had one way of thinking, communicating, working, problem-solving… nothing would ever get done.

Variety is the spice of life, as they say!

But wherever there is difference, there will eventually be conflict. It is unavoidable.

And in fact, it is not even a bad thing! We consider conflict an obstacle to overcome, but it can actually be an incredible opportunity to model your organization’s core values and even improve team morale.

But in order for that to happen, conflict must be managed properly. Otherwise, it is more likely to be what we all usually think of when we think about conflict… messy and morale-killing.

So, if you want to manage conflict to your advantage or avoid it to begin with, how should you approach it?

1. Set the tone for how your team should interact with each other.

Leaders connect their teams to the organization, its vision, and its values. In your actions and inactions, you set the tone for your team and communicate to them what is and what is not acceptable in your workplace.

Do nothing that you would discourage your team members from doing. Be intentional about treating each person – everyone from your team members to your clients and the cleaning staff – and their perspective – with respect.

2. Have the necessary difficult conversations.

Conflict unmanaged can quickly spiral out of control. And worse yet, your team is always watching and your inaction speaks volumes to them. When they see conflict growing and their leader is doing nothing, they disengage and tension only grows.

3. Create a healthy work environment for your team.

When we limit the growth of our team members, we set them up for conflict. But on the other hand, when we give people roles that allow them to exercise their strengths, they feel supported by the organization – and when your team feels supported, they are much quicker to work through differences in perspective.

4. Encourage workplace behaviours you want your team to exhibit.

Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell says, “What gets rewarded, gets done.”

Part of setting the tone for your team involves demonstrating to them what your organization values. Rewarding the kind of actions that align with your organization’s values creates the correlation in the minds of your team members.

5. Praise in public; coach in private.

The only way rewarding your team members for exemplary behaviour can create that correlation is if your team sees it take place!

Praising a member of your team does not help only that member, but it also shows the rest of your team that you recognize and appreciate effort. This is how it motivates the rest of the team to engage.

When you offer feedback in front of others, though, it can have a demoralizing effect on the whole team, especially the team member that you are correcting. Addressing concerns is necessary to your leadership role, and when you do it in private, your team member appreciates your discretion.

If you are looking for more insights on workplace conflict, my colleague Madalina Ghinescu will be answering all kinds of questions on the next episode of Leading on Mondays.

What causes workplace conflict? How does it impact your team, and how can you practically apply these principles? Madalina and I will be covering this and more on 28 March at 12PM CET.

Click here and hit “Attend” to get notified when we go live.

That’s all for now.

Until next time,


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