October 18, 2017

5 Effective Leadership Skills You Can Use to Quickly Settle a Dispute at Work

resolve disputeAs a leader, there will come a time in your career when you have to sit down with two or more people and do your best to help settle a disagreement, dispute or conflict.  While this is not the activity most leaders enjoy, it is a part of the job, and the best approach is a proactive one that engages the disagreeing parties in a dialogue that ends in resolution.

Striking while the iron is hot is critical in helping to settle a dispute.  Many leaders just ignore conflict on their team, thinking that time will heal all wounds.  I have observed the opposite to be true.  If two or more people on your team are in the middle of a disagreement, negative emotions will build, and team chemistry can fall apart.

So, here is what I suggest trying the next time you are settling a dispute.  You will be using these 5 leadership skills:

1.  Addressing conflict swiftly.

2.  The art of using effective dialogue.

3.  Mediation.

4.  Holding people accountable.

5.  Taking action.

For this post, I am going to use the names John and Sue.  Let’s say John and Sue have had a disagreement, are avoiding each other and starting to gossip about the situation to other team members.  It is time to call them both in, and start a dialogue:

Step 1:  Establish the ground rules.  Allow each person a chance to vent for about 2-3 minutes about what is going on.   Then, state firmly but calmly “We are now going to shift into a conversation about what each of you want for yourself, what you want for each other, what you want for the team and what steps you are going to take to get there.

Step 2:  Ask John the following questions:

  1. What do you want for yourself?
  2. What do you want for Sue?
  3. What do you want for your relationship?
  4. What do you want for your team?
  5. What steps will you take, starting today, to
  • Get what you want
  • Help Sue get what he wants
  • Get what you want for the relationship
  • Help the team get the results they need

Step 3:  Ask Sue the following questions:

  1. What do you want for yourself?
  2. What do you want for John?
  3. What do you want for your relationship?
  4. What do you want for your team?
  5. What steps will you take, starting today, to
  • Get what you want
  • Help John get what he wants
  • Get what you want for the relationship
  • Help the team get the results they need

Step 4:  State the accountability system by saying this.  “I am going to be observing your interactions, and I would like to follow up on _____________ date.  State a date that is no later than two weeks into the future.  If at this time, you have not resolved your issues with each other, we are going to have another conversation to see where we go from here.  While I encourage open debate, I have to get my team on the same page, moving in the same direction, so I will be following up in two weeks.

Step 5:  Take action.  If Sue and John cannot come to an agreement, and if they cannot work together and continue to cause tension in the team chemistry, it is time to make changes…either moving them onto different teams or taking steps to determine if Sue and John are really a good fit for your company.  If they “agree to disagree” and still work together, you may continue to see this issue surface, even if you move them to another team or department.

If you or a team member is having difficulty settling a dispute, contact me today for a complimentary consultation to see if I may be able to help you with this challenge.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Print Friendly
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!