In any office environment where teams of workers are in place, there’s bound to be some interpersonal conflict associated with them. This is where a good manager can make all the difference. A strong leader can help to keep a team focused and resolve conflicts in a constructive way, rather than letting them inhibit productivity. Here are four ways you can help your managers handle and properly resolve team-related conflicts.
Establish Clear Conflict Resolution Practices
One of the best things you can do to support your managers is to lay out clear protocols for conflict resolution. If managers have a well-planned structure to adhere to in dealing with problems, they won’t feel that they have to simply make everything up as they go. This conflict resolution plan should be known not only to your managers but also to your employees at large, as this will establish clear expectations of what will happen when conflicts do arise. At the same time, though, you should give your managers some latitude of freedom within this resolution plan, since individual circumstances may require different handling.
Send Your Managers to Leadership Events
Like every other employee you have, your managers need to be given the opportunity to develop as professionals if they are to be as successful as possible. A great way to facilitate this development is to send them to leadership workshops and other professional events that can teach them new methods of conflict resolution. Such workshops will also teach them other useful skills, such as organizational strategies and methods of getting their teams to be more productive. By helping your managers learn to be better leaders, you can help your company run more smoothly while at the same time helping them advance their own careers.
Be Willing to Help
The point of having managers is to be able to delegate leadership and administrative duties, but there will still be times when your managers need your advice on the best way to handle a given situation. When this happens, you should be ready and willing to help a manager navigate a conflict. Be sure to use the instance as a teaching tool, so that that person will be able to apply the advice you give him or her to similar team-related conflicts in the future. Don’t, however, deride or look down on a manager who feels that he or she needs your help. This is almost guaranteed to decrease morale all around without producing a constructive solution to the problem at hand.
Make Project Expectations Clear
A huge part of helping your managers deal with team-related conflicts is avoiding being the unintentional source of such conflicts. Team conflict often occurs because of unclear project guidelines and expectations, which can leave everyone with his or her own individual vision of the project. If you set clear expectations and guidelines, you can relieve a huge amount of the team tension that can eventually result in conflicts as the project develops. With better communication on your part, you can proactively help your managers deal with team conflicts by preventing them from arising in the first place.
Though some conflict among teams of workers is always going to occur, these four tips will help your managers deal with it in the most efficient and effective ways. Remember that, though you should be available if your managers need your help, you shouldn’t micromanage them. Instead, put your trust in the people you’ve hired to help run your company, as this will give them the freedom they need to solve problems on their own and learn from the experiences.