A Manager’s Guide to Resolving Conflicts

Conflicts occur in the office – there is no way to avoid it. As a manager, your role is to mediate arguments and prevent future conflicts from occurring. That being said, how do YOU handle conflicts when you are a part of it? It is easier to take a step back from the argument and provide solutions when it happens between your employees.

How do you start meditating your own conflict in a partial manner? First you need to reflect on why you were triggered.

people discussing

Reflecting about the conflict

When a conflict occurs, it is an indication that were triggered. This means that something resulted in you getting angry. Hit the pause button. Take a step back. Think about why and what you were reacting to. It takes a lot of discipline to do this especially when you’re wrapped in your emotions in that moment.

Still angry? Take a timeout. Walk away from the conflict and give yourself the space to reflect. Just let your employee know that you both need to cool off and arguing about it further is not productive. During the timeout, take a look at the conflict from your employee’s perspective. Examine both yours and your employee’s views from a logical perspective and see if it aligns with the department’s or the team’s goals.

Boss listening to employees

What to do if I can’t see it from the other person’s perspective?

This is understandably so because we are all human beings. Manager or not. Talk to a peer, a fellow manager, for advice. The key thing to note is not to ask for a solution to the conflict. Instead, ask for feedback. Focus on the conflict and both parties’ reactions.

It also creates solidarity among managers to gather feedback and as a social support. However, take this as a final option. Always try to self-reflect in the beginning.

How can such conflicts be positive?

With every conflict, you see what is missing about yourself or about the task you are collaborating on with your team. This makes you clear in the future on what are the missing gaps in communication or in understanding of the task. What is missing can be in terms of: missing in terms of the way you communicate instructions and information as a manager, direction in the company, engagement of the employees in the company.

An excellent manager is one who goes the extra mile by examining why the conflict happened. Often, managers skip this important step to understand what they can do to prevent the conflict from occurring. That is the work of the manager – not just to play fireman but to check and see what needs to be done to prevent it in future.