Missing Leadership Skill: Conflict Management

photo credit: Jean Wimmerlin / Unsplash

One of the things we DON’T teach our future leaders:

✔ Conflict Management

Conflict management is a skill that all up-and-coming leaders should learn. Some research suggests that 25% of a manager’s day is spent managing conflict.

Most people are intimidated by conflict, expecting that it always involves anger and a win-lose outcome. But conflict is an amazingly helpful and enlightening gift, when handled correctly. It’s those last 3 words that can make conflict tricky.

There are 5 basic conflict management practices, but the ones leaders need to focus on are Collaborating and Compromising. If one enters into a conflict with the expectation that “we all want the best outcome” then reasonably listening to all viewpoints and agreeing to those that will enhance the working relationship is simply logical. At times, one position can’t truly have it “their way,” but something that is acceptable is compromised instead.

Conflict management skills involved many soft skills including questioning, listening, empathy, assertiveness, problem-solving, creativity, negotiation, and more.

The most succinct piece of conflict management advice is this: Don’t say no. Instead, say: Tell me more, or What can you share to help us understand that?

Remember: “we all want the best outcome.”