Company CEO’s or C-level leaders are tasked with the challenge of leading their teams and making sure that all parties involved cooperate seamlessly. A conflict-free working environment is the first great leap forward in productivity and prosperity. Maintaining a conflict free workplace is easier said than done.  Often CEO’s and senior management have to deal with the reality of overseeing dispute resolution ranging from friction between employees to unsatisfied customers. In the leadership role the ability to actually prevent, intervene and mitigate the toxic effects conflict is absolutely vital.  In addition to managing all work related conflict, it is very important to note that those in the position remain unbiased and fair.

The biggest challenge however is that it is really hard to find a medium that see’s all parties involved in the dispute happy with the resolution. People have very subjective opinions and what might appear fair to one party, might not feel fair to another. Hence it is imperative that decision makers and leaders invest in professional conflict resolution programming as a means to keep abreast of best practices and embellishing corporate conflict management protocol.

It is important for leaders to establish a corporate conflict management protocol so that staff, customers, clients etc, know they can rest assured that a professional fair standard/process exists in the workplace.  People challenge dispute resolution process less when they are aware policies or rules existed in advance to their unique situation where conflict arises.

Let’s explore this option with an example. Imagine you own a coffee shop and you have 3 employees. Nick always serves customers, while Jason brews the coffee and Tom works with the inventory. Nick is upset about always having to serve the customers, while Jason and Tom have a less stressful schedule. This situation has lead to discontent/tension in the workplace and now the impact is being seen in the shop’s performance…A disgruntled Nick is not providing high-quality customer service and he refuses to work well with his colleagues, now having a grudge against them.

A good leader can actually prevent a situation like this even before it arises, by simply establishing a certain set of policies (or rules). For instance, the owner could incorporate an early intervention process that fields concerns etc at team meetings, thus reducing the likelihood of animosity fostering. The owner could empower employees to suggest viable solutions thereby creating a win win situation for all involved.  E.g. Exploring solutions such as duty rotation.  Having clear policies and rules is actually an essential part of conflict management. The clearer your policies are the easier it is to resolve any conflict based on such ground rules.

In addition promoting an environment where clear communication is practiced (message sent/message received and message understood) is vital to avoiding problematic situations.

“Conflict can have a detrimental impact on your business reputation and cost your organization. Equipping employees with the skills necessary to navigate and offset conflict that could arise in the workplace setting is cost effective and smart”

Ultimately leaders who incorporate conflict management training as part of professional development for employees see the big picture of that ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Raising the bar with Roderick