Conflict resolution. Today’s workplace is as much a battlefield of dueling generations as it is a ladder leading to the pinnacle of professional, social, and financial success. Your arsenal of executive leadership skills must now include tactful tactical war maneuvers and creative conflict resolution strategies.
The word “resolution” implies the ability to bring a matter to a satisfactory conclusion–imagine negotiating a cease fire. The word also suggests visual acuity. Shrewd managers hone their interpersonal and leadership skills so that the focus of their mind’s eye grows sharper–think grainy dot matrix to high definition clarity.
One of the most important things a successful manager can cultivate is a clear understanding of his employees’ personalities. Armed with such insights, you can:
- predict some behaviors
- develop managerial strategies to cultivate the strengths in each worker
- partner with them to improve areas of weakness
- defuse potentially volatile situations before they explode
“Can you hear me now?” Some of your most diligent and conscientious employees may be so frustrated that they don’t even bother to ask. That’s because they feel invisible and they’re convinced their message will never be received.
They thrive on routine and the safety of predictable mandates, to be sure. They need clear directives and deadlines–this is the fuel that keeps their engines chugging along. But it’s a mistake to interpret their diligence as docility or passivity.
Change your lens and look at them more closely. Take the time and effort to find out what really makes them tick–what gets them excited! Yes, many of these seemingly mild-mannered worker bees have the capacity to get super-geeked, too.
They may have much to say–much to contribute, in fact; ideas that could benefit the company. They need to know that their ideas are welcomed and that their voices will be heard. For these workers, you’ll need to open your door and then clearly demonstrate that your mind is open as well.
So how do you resolve a conflict when there doesn’t appear to be one? Look for it! No, you’re not looking for trouble here. Think of it as a preemptive strike. Don’t wait until a major policy or procedural change is in play. Exploit the quiet before the storm. Search out potential problem issues before they become problematic by fully engaging workers who may be most affected but least likely to speak up. If you sense that they don’t feel that they have a voice, give them one by talking to them and then listen. LISTEN! Can you hear me now? Good!