Posted on January 17th, 2024
By Cubie Davis King, Ph.D.
Picture this. You walk into a team meeting and can immediately sense the tension in the room. When team members begin to speak, the contention is so thick you could cut it with a knife. You sit back and observe as team members argue points about the project and the way forward. Even though most people are able to maintain control, you know, underneath, there is a volcano ready to erupt.
But you are calm, cool, and collected. Why? Because you have learned new skills on how to remain in control no matter what. You have learned to anchor your emotions to positive outcomes. When you speak in your confident and reassuring voice, your team takes notice and listens attentively. You are able to calm their collective nerves and get everyone to refocus their thinking on the important things that matter most. As the meeting adjourned, a positive vibe and a spirit of cooperation among team members swept over the room. Your tactics are simply irresistible.
What just happened? You just employed the 7 new skills on how to resolve workplace conflict in 2024, which are:
- Build from core values. Both the team and its leaders must be aligned on the core values that they share and the ones that govern everyday strategies. Both leaders and their teams must be aligned.
- Address the elephant in the room. Identify (and get to the heart of) real problems (not based on suppositions but facts) and call them out professionally. Decide whether you should address the conflict one-on-one or with the team at large. Here’s another key point. Say what you mean, but don’t be mean when you say it!
- Address the behavior you want modified or changed. Show people how making a behavior change will put them in a different light with the team and leadership. For example, if a person is quick-tempered, help them understand that learning to control that urge and impulse may open up new opportunities and promotions for them.
- Master the art of MBWA or Management by Wandering Around. Connect and build alliances with your people and get to know them on a personal level. This way, you get to know their temperament and can head off potential conflicts long before they occur.
- Become a master of power phases that work in any situation to defuse conflicts. Yes, you can easily learn these phases. Once you learn them, all you need to do is practice them until they become second nature to you.
- Train team members to trust each other. You have learned the skill of getting team members to trust each other, which goes a long way in transforming any team from conflict to collaboration. Now, provide training for everyone else on this skill.
- Become a coach! Change your team’s image of you. Help your people see you as a winning coach who will lead them to the championship. It doesn’t matter if it is in sales, in the operating room, in the classroom, in the boardroom, or in the living room. Be the leader-coach that your people look to for skills on how to resolve conflicts and inspire collaboration. This is no worry for you because now you have learned new skills on how to compartmentalize problems and to keep from internalizing them. Wow! These are powerful skill sets to have as a leader. The next step is for you to teach everyone on your team to do the same. No wonder people see you as an irresistible leader.
Conclusion: Conflicts are inevitable in every organization, but a well-educated and well-informed workforce will lessen the impact of those conflicts that arise.
© 2024 Cubie Davis King. All Rights reserved internationally.
Dr. Cubie Davis King, Ph.D., is an international leadership and talent development expert and executive coach with 40 years of experience working with organizations around the world. He is the author of two new conflict resolution/problem-solving resources: (1) How to Discuss Undiscussables in The Workplace and (2) Complex Problem Solving for Leaders. Look for these at www.cubieking.com, Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble.