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Conflict Management Skills for Leaders: List, Example & How to Improve

Conflict management skills are becoming some of the most important skills every worker should possess. It’s because the increasing complexity of the business world gives rise to more and more possible solutions, which in turn result in more and more conflicts.

Resolving them is essential to every successful company, and it’s nearly impossible to resolve them without having conflict management skills.

In this article, we’re going to present some of the most useful conflict management skills, recommend how everyone can improve them, and present 7 steps of conflict resolution that can help to effectively resolve every dispute.

Conflict Management Skills in the Workplace – Importance & Benefits

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What are Conflict Management Skills? – Definition & Meaning

Conflict management skills are a set of skills that allows you to effectively resolve potential conflict. Without utilizing these skills, it becomes virtually impossible to reach an end of a dispute.

Conflict management skills not only help to solve a negative conflict but also to minimize the negative consequences of each dispute, by achieving the best possible solution that satisfies everyone involved. These skills are a must-have for everyone involved in the business world and can help you to stand out from the rest.

What are Conflict Management Skills – Definition & Meaning

Conflict Resolution Strategies

Conflict management skills are a set of skills that allows you to effectively resolve potential conflict. Without utilizing these skills, it becomes virtually impossible to reach an end of a dispute.

Conflict management skills not only help to solve a negative conflict but also to minimize the negative consequences of each dispute, by achieving the best possible solution that satisfies everyone involved. These skills are a must-have for everyone involved in the business world and can help you to stand out from the rest.

  • Avoiding – It’s when a conflict discussion is avoided with hopes that time and space will allow people to get a new perspective and solve it later on.
  • Accommodating – This style aims to give another party everything they want in order to solve a conflict as quickly as possible.
  • Compromising – This strategy tries to find the mid-way point that will somewhat satisfy both parties.
  • Competing – It’s when one party tries to satisfy its own needs without any regard to the needs of another party.
  • Collaborating – This style tries to find the long-term solution possible that will fully satisfy the needs of both parties. However, it’s very time-consuming.

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10 Examples of Conflict Management Skills & Techniques

  1. Effective communication
  2. Active listening
  3. Problem-solving
  4. Level-headedness
  5. Positive attitude
  6. Empathy
  7. Give time and space
  8. Follow up
  9. Avoid ad hominem
  10. Be willing to compromise

Effective communication

Conflicts are already difficult to deal with as they are. What makes them even more difficult is poor communication. Some conflicts arise only because of miscommunication.

If you always try your best to speak in a clear and precise manner, another party will know exactly where you stand and conflicts will become way easier to solve. Additionally, try to use a friendly tone and avoid raising your voice, it will put another person at ease.

10 Examples of Conflict Management Skills & Techniques

Active listening

Even if you’re communicating effectively, another person might not be trying his best to avoid miscommunication. That’s why it’s very important to listen actively and try your best to understand what another person is trying to communicate.

A single misheard word can change the entire direction of a conflict for the worse, and you definitely want to avoid that. When you’re in a conflict, pay 100% of your attention to what another person is saying.

Problem-solving

There’s no end to a conflict if there isn’t a viable creative solution. Sometimes all parties involved get stuck and start believing that there’s no such viable solution and that the conflict is impossible to solve.

However, most conflicts can be solved, and problem-solving skills can greatly help you to find the solution. Even presenting baby steps towards a solution can reduce the tension and make the rest of the conflict go more smoothly.

Level-headedness

There’s nothing worse than losing your temper during a conflict or an argument. Even if you’re right, lashing out at someone is admitting defeat. To avoid that, try to be level-headed and always maintain your composure. Breathe, don’t hurry, and allow yourself to stop and think, even if it creates a moment of silence.

Positive Attitude

People are more likely to collaborate with people who are optimistic and positive. No one wants to deal with that guy, and everyone knows that guy in the office.

Simply smiling and showing a positive attitude can make conflicts less complex and easier to solve. If everyone is working as a team and trying to achieve a common goal, most conflicts will become easy to resolve.

Empathy

It’s comfortable to focus on your own needs without even trying to understand the perspective of another party. However, practicing empathy and trying to place yourself in their shoes can make you understand the very core of a conflict and solve it with ease.

Give Time and Space

Conflicts often become tense. If everyone butt heads it becomes extremely difficult to come up with a solution. That’s why giving limited time and space to another party is crucial.

It allows everyone to cool down and begin managing a conflict with a new set of eyes. Such a technique is very effective if the conflict is ongoing for a while and the solution is nowhere to be seen.

Follow Up

Solving a conflict is only part of the job. After it’s done, it’s very important to follow up with another party and talk about how they’re feeling about the resolution.

It builds a foundation for a long-term partnership, which will make other conflicts down the line easier to solve. If you’re just trying to win a conflict without any regard to another party, it might cause you problems in the future.

Avoid Ad Hominem

It’s very easy to attack the person instead of their position. However, that’s one of the biggest no-nos in the business world. Such attacks are called ad hominem, You’ll not only look immature but also make it more difficult to solve the conflict.

Focusing on another person instead of the issue might “win” you an argument, but it definitely won’t solve the conflict.

Be Willing to Compromise

Conflicts are difficult not without a reason. Everyone wants to get what they want, and if one party gets everything it demands, it usually means that another party is left empty-handed. That’s where compromises come in.

You can try to find a midway point that would somewhat satisfy the needs of both parties. While it means that neither party will be fully happy with such an outcome, some conflicts simply cannot be solved in any other manner.

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How to Identify & Improve Conflict Management Skills

The best way to identify conflict management skills is to take a look at previous conflicts and how they were resolved. Self-reflection of your actions that led to a certain income can be an invaluable resource for conflict management skill identification.

For example, you can find that a conflict in the past got resolved only when you began actively listening to another party. Using the same technique, you can improve your conflict management process.

If a conflict in the past went astray, ask yourself why it did so. You’ll soon realize what skill you were lacking. Then when you come upon a similar situation in a future conflict, you can focus on that skill and try your best to utilize it properly to not repeat the same mistake again.

If your company doesn’t offer training on conflict management strategy, experience and self-reflection are the best methods to improve and develop them yourself.

How to Identify & Improve Conflict Management Skills

What are the 7 Steps in Conflict Resolution?

Conflicts are complex and don’t follow the same steps of resolution every single time. However, these 7 steps in conflict resolution are recommended for a smooth arrival at a solution.

Agree To Talk and Establish Boundaries

To solve an intense conflict, first and foremost all parties involved have to agree to talk. Even if one party rejects to meet up and talk about the issue, the solution will never appear.

During the first meeting, it’s important to establish boundaries of the following discussion and conflict resolution. All parties must agree on common rules like no interrupting, taking turns, and so on.

Take Turns in Expressing Feelings and Thoughts

When boundaries are established, each party should take turns in expressing their own perspective on the issue, including feelings and thoughts. It will put all parties on the same level from which the eventual solution will arise.

Find the Core of the Conflict

After everyone’s perspective on the issue is clear, try to find the very core of the conflict. Sometimes after all parties declare their point of view, the conflict disappears, because it was born out of miscommunication. In other cases, finding the main problem of disagreement is a necessary step to take.

Share Possible Solutions

Now when the main problem is identified, each party can take turns in proposing their own solution. At first, these solutions will seem unacceptable to other parties, because each party usually wants to satisfy their own needs to the maximum. However, sharing possible solutions will help to find the perfect solution for everyone involved.

What are the 7 Steps in Conflict Resolution

Find the Best Solution

Finding the best solution is difficult because in most cases it means that one or more parties will have to sacrifice some of their needs to achieve it. It’s called compromise, and in most cases, it’s essential for finding the best solution.

Voice Out the Solution

When all parties agree on the best solution, it must be voiced out clearly and accurately to avoid future disagreements. Formulating a concrete solution and then voicing it out will make it real and set in stone.

Follow Up

After a solution is voiced out and fulfilled, a follow-up with each party involved is a must. During the follow-ups, all parties can discuss how they’re feeling about the accepted solution and maybe find ways to improve it.

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Why Employers Value Conflict Management Skills

Every company should try to avoid conflicts because they can ruin the company’s culture, decrease the overall morale and lead to lower productivity. If your employees are engaging in useless conflicts on a day-to-day basis, chances are they’re not focused on their role in the company to the fullest.

That’s why nearly all employers value effective conflict management skills. If you’re capable of solving every conflict without much trouble, it means that you’ll have more time to do your actual work.

Additionally, if every single person in the company possesses such skills, it leads to a great company culture, where everyone is working as a team to achieve a common goal. It will pave the way for improvement and improved results.

Conflict Resolution in Relationships – List of Benefits

Conflicts are prominent not only at workplaces but also in personal relationships. Obviously, it’s one of the main reasons why people break up or stop being friends.

Conflict strategy in personal life is extremely important for a healthy lifestyle because without it most of your relationships will end on a sour note. To effectively manage conflicts in daily life, you have to use most of the skills that we’ve mentioned in the article.

It will bring numerous benefits, such as:

  • Strengthens Relationships
  • Builds New Relationships
  • Increases Commitment
  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety

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How to Highlight Conflict Management Skills in Resume

Conflict management skills are required in every workplace. However, that’s not the first thing that comes to an employer’s mind during the hiring process. That’s the reason why you have to highlight these skills yourself to bring attention to them.

The best way to do so is to put your conflict management skills under the “skills” section of your resume. A hiring manager or recruiter will notice them and will be pleasantly surprised that you’ve included them in your resume.

It’s especially great if you’re applying for a managerial or human resources job, because despite being essential for the job. most applicants don’t include these skills in their resumes.

How to Question and Answer About Conflict Management Skills

If you’ve included conflict management skills in your resume, you must know how to answer the possible question about them during a job interview. If you come unprepared to answer questions about your skills, chances are you won’t get a second call.

Regardless of the question, always try to maintain eye contact when talking. Besides being respectful, it will also signal that you carry a necessary level of confidence for the job.

Additionally, maintain an open body language, don’t cross your arms or legs. Finally, communicate effectively by speaking clearly. If you’ve included conflict management skills in your resume, it’s not uncommon to be asked about a previous conflict where you had to use some of those skills.

That’s why it’s best to think about some of the conflicts from your past before an interview and have them ready in case you’re asked about it. You definitely don’t want to fumble your words and think of something on the spot, so be prepared.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Conflict Management Skills

How to Manage and Resolve Conflicts?

Managing and resolving conflicts is difficult, and to do it effectively one must utilize conflict management skills. Communicating effectively, listening actively, being emphatic, avoiding personal attacks, and following up after the fact will help you to manage and resolve conflicts in both, professional and personal lives.

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution is a process through which a disagreement between two or more parties is resolved. The perfect conflict resolution ends in all parties being fully satisfied. However, in real life, such an outcome is difficult to achieve. In many cases, compromising is a must to end a dispute, and it means that both parties have to give something up.

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