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How to manage emotions in conflict situations: a guide for leaders

How to manage emotions

How to manage emotions: Conflict situations arise in any work collective. Sometimes healthy conflict is beneficial, leads to discussion, and opens up new ways to solve problems. But more often it negatively affects the involvement and work of the team, as well as the efficiency of the company as a whole.

Consequences of labor conflicts for leaders:

  • Waste of time to solve them;
  • Loss of productivity (employees lose concentration and are poorly focused, putting energy into struggles with each other);
  • Absenteeism of employees;
  • Staff turnover due to tense atmosphere.

The main goal of a leader is to turn hostile relationships between employees into constructive ones. It is important to focus their attention on completing common tasks and try to get rid of the mutual hostility of opponents.

1. Don’t ignore the conflict from the start

Disputes between employees can negatively affect the entire team and even damage the company’s reputation. Other colleagues may also be drawn into the conflict. It is important to make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable and that disagreements should not interfere with work.

2. Find out the essence of the problem

Often, the real reason for an argument is hidden behind emotions. To highlight it, ask each employee to state the problem calmly. Assess at what stage the conflict is and how much damage has already been done.

A list of questions to help you better understand the situation:

  • Are there other circumstances that could make it worse?
  • Are employees’ working styles conflicting?
  • Does the team atmosphere increase stress levels?
  • How strong is the workload on both sides?
  • Is someone spreading rumors, thereby provoking the development of a conflict?

3. Determine the goals and interests of the parties

What needs of employees are not met and provoke a conflict? It is important to assess the ability of opponents to get what they want. Sometimes it is better for one of them to immediately give up intentions, since the object is unattainable for him. It is also necessary to find out what kind of relations the employees had before the exacerbation, to assess who supports each of the parties, how the others relate to the dispute.

4. Listen to both sides

It is important for a leader to remain neutral. By supporting one of the parties, he risks expanding the boundaries of the conflict, undermining his authority and even losing employees. Do not prematurely assess what is happening until you have clarified the situation to the end. No need to look for someone to blame or figure out who first started. Employees want to defend their point of view, and the manager needs a favorable climate in the team and friendly and satisfied employees. So, you need to find a solution that will help everyone achieve their goal.

Most staff want to be heard, so ask each person involved to explain their side of the story. Before deciding whether to date dissenters together or separately, try to assess the degree of hostility between them. Remember, you are here to discuss facts, not emotions.

5. Check the accuracy of the information

Refine and supplement information about the conflict using personal observations and meetings with different people.

6. Keep calm

The leader should always be calm and reasonable, this helps to better cope with the situation and choose the right decision. If emotions start to overwhelm you yourself, you will not be able to find the optimal solution and will only aggravate everything.

If the leader with dignity accepts responsibility for resolving the issue, then the next time employees will definitely turn to him for help as the supreme judge, without bringing the matter to conflict. And vice versa, if he gives vent to emotions, shouts, threatens, then it is unlikely that he will have many supporters, and such a fact will have a very negative effect on his reputation because the leader must always be at his best.

7. Do not arrange public hearings

No matter how many people are involved in the conflict, you should not publicly sort things out. Thus, you will only give a reason for its further dissemination. It is necessary to speak with each of the participants in private.

8. Be objective

When making a decision, the leader must act in the interests of the company and the team, leaving personal sympathies aside. Sometimes conflict situations are resolved in favor of the one who worked longer, brought more benefits, etc., that is, for “past merits.” At the same time, the leaders do not pay attention to the fact that these merits have nothing to do with the conflict. Such decisions can lead to dissatisfaction with a large number of employees and, as a result, an even larger conflict.

9. Find a compromise

The leader must find a solution that would satisfy both parties, to a greater or lesser extent. Employees don’t have to be best friends, they just need to get their jobs done. Sometimes the only way to smooth things out is to reorganize teams and reduce contact between conflicting employees. It can also be helpful to give them time to cool down before working together again.

The company’s goals come first, and if the conflict continues, it could seriously impact performance. Therefore, you should not hold on to toxic employees if they interfere with the work of the entire team.

10. Learn a lesson

To prevent such situations from happening again in the future, the head needs to take measures: issue orders, change job descriptions, the algorithm for interaction between divisions, etc.

But do not forget that none of the measures will work if the leader does not put the necessary accents on time. People are the most valuable resource in any organization. Therefore, the task of the manager is to convey to the employees the core values ​​and corporate norms of the company.

The more often a leader communicates with employees, the more opportunities he has to control the situation and resolve emerging disagreements even before they develop into a conflict.

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