People who work together often will not always see eye to eye. They may have different perspectives and ideas even disagree on essential matters. While it's impossible to avoid conflict, the good news is that the right kind of conflict can lead to incredible results.
Unguided leaders make poor decisions, develop less innovation and struggle to make their teams work effectively together. Hence it is essential to know how to efficiently manage conflict. The key is not to try to stop it but to harness it to develop new strategies in your company. The key to handling conflict, as with the relation between others, is to offer increased expertise in the position of an executive coach.
Executive coaching is a process that helps a leader gain insight into their leadership style and gains new skills. It involves a coach who meets with a leader regularly to help them evolve. Coaching is also a powerful way to develop collective leadership, where team members support each other in pursuing higher performance levels. Coaching is an excellent tool for helping leaders work together to solve challenging problems by encouraging them to think 'outside the box and to see different perspectives.
Since every leader is different, the coaching process can be customised and therefore seen as a two-way street built around specific outcomes. Coaching tools and techniques come from various sources, but the most successful methods can be distilled down to simple, actionable ideas that help you improve your leadership skills.
Below are some actionable insights into how executive coaching can help foster a more productive and harmonious work environment.
Here's what you need to know:
Gain Insight to Triggers of Conflict Priorities
One of the best ways to help manage conflict is understanding the triggers that make you more likely to respond negatively to a situation. For example, one of the most common triggers for conflict is a feeling of being ignored or overlooked.
For a leader, it's easy to fall into the trap of assigning a lot of work to one person, not giving them a chance to deliver, and then getting frustrated when they don't complete the work on time. The emphasis here is often on the leader to be more patient and review the overall prioritisation of work in collaboration with the team.
Develop Better Communication Skills
A saying goes, "People are how you communicate," and it's true. How you communicate with team members will significantly impact how they feel about a situation.
The key is to make sure that you're clear about what you're trying to communicate and then use an open and straightforward approach to communicate that message.
For example, if you have a team member who misses deadlines and is always late to meetings, it's essential to communicate so that it doesn't make them feel like they're being attacked. Instead, try to focus on the problem at hand and give the team members buy-in to fix the problem together.
Make Conflict More Productive
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. It can be destructive or it can be productive. In order for it to be productive, it must be managed with empathy and put in context. It's important to remember that conflict is not always bad. In fact, it can often lead to positive change. However, it's important to handle it correctly so that everyone involved feels respected and heard.
When conflict arises, we need to take a step back and assess the situation. What is the root of the problem? What are each person's goals? How can we best achieve those goals?
When conflict is approached in a constructive way, teams can often come up with better solutions than if it was simply avoided altogether.
Become More Observant
Being observant can help you identify triggers before they arise, assess the entire situation, and then find a way to work with the person involved to arrive at a better solution - one where both of you can benefit. By being aware of your own triggers and the triggers of those around you, you can take steps to avoid or diffuse conflict before it becomes too heated.
Taking a close look at an issue can help you find better approaches to correcting the matter. As an example, if you observe that a team member is unproductive and relationships are becoming bitter, reframing the situation can be used to turn it into a winning outcome. Examine the problem from a different angle, then try to come up with a new solution that will work for both members.
Some common triggers for conflict include: being ignored or dismissed, feeling belittled or disregarded, being left out or excluded from a conversation or activity, and feeling like someone is trying to take advantage of you. If you can become more aware of these and other potential triggers, you can work to avoid them or head them off before they lead to an argument.
Learn to Be More Approachable
Many people assume that a leader needs to be authoritarian and assertive at all times to get better results. However, this isn't true. When it comes to managing conflict, one of the best things you can do is to be approachable and open, which will help you build a stronger relationship with your team members.
If you find out that team members are having difficulty, don't be afraid to offer your help. In an identical way, you should also be open to the fact that you are not the only one with the answer and that it is necessary to listen to the opinions of others.
The Bottom Line
Conflict is often inevitable, but it doesn't have to be negative. It can be one of the best ways to help you and your team get better at what you do. Instead of avoiding conflict, embrace it, work with it, and learn to manage it.
As a leader, it's vital to help your team members grow and develop. Coaching is a great way to foster this growth, and it will also empower you to work together more effectively.
Whether you're working with a professional executive coach or a mentor, it's important to remember that managing conflict is about improving your communication, seeing the bigger picture, and getting buy-in from your team members.
If you are looking for an executive coach in Australia, Stuart can help you. Stuart Andrews provides leadership coaching to support executives, and business leaders drive successful initiatives.
At the same time, he aims to help your teams consistently perform at the highest level. Book a complimentary discovery call to get started! To learn more, pre-order Stuart’s new book on The Leadership Shift - How to Lead Success Transformations in the New Normal now.