Don’t Avoid Tough Conversations in the Workplace

Are you a problem solver?

As leaders, managers take on responsibility that can really put your strengths and weaknesses to the test. Many managers struggle with addressing conflict. In fact, a survey conducted by Interact found that 37% of managers reported “they are uncomfortable having to give direct feedback/criticism about their employee’s performance that they might respond badly to.” How can you guide employees to success by addressing this issue head on?


Read further for tips on facing conflict int the workplace:

1: The effects of avoiding conflict.
A Harvard Business Review study found that 46% of high-level managers were rated poorly on holding employees accountable for poor performance. Avoiding a difficult situation will only negatively affect the overall attitude of your office environment, worsening the conflict. Learning opportunities diminish and repeat mistakes are made, all of which leave you with a counterproductive workplace of unhappy and unmotivated employees.


2: How to manage conflict.
Some key ingredients to overcome conflict are being transparent, listening with empathy, showing authentic motivation, and showing your employees that you trust them. Try integrating conflict training and workshops into your company culture. Both management and employees will benefit from learning how to recognize areas of conflict and how to address them productively. When discussing conflict with employees, clearly defined roles and expectations prevent confusion and missteps. Be honest and helpful, directly addressing the issue and guiding your employee to work toward the solution. Try asking them what they need to better accomplish their goals.


3: The benefits.
Avoiding conflict can cripple team collaboration on important decisions and diminish the overall well-being of your company culture. Dealing with conflict head on realigns your team with their goals and diminishes the chances of friction stemming from perceived special treatment. Resolving conflict can enhance employee commitment and build stronger relationships. It fosters a mutual respect and helps to remove any stigma of “me vs. them.”


Sometimes human nature is to seek the path of least resistance, as managers, we need to know when to take a direct path to constructively address issues head on. Participating in training and establishing clear roles and expectations are just a few ways to help deter conflict in the workplace. Dealing with issues will help create and maintain a more productive and happy work environment.