It’s human nature to experience conflict. Human beings are inherently different from one another and when we work together on a daily basis, breakdowns in communication are a virtual certainty.
These can be due to both external circumstances or internal issues: a difference of opinions, feeling physically run-down, facing personal problems or financial issues, feeling frustrated with a project, the lack of communication with some members of the team, feeling slighted by others, and the list can go on.
But conflict is not always a bad thing; it can be an agent of positive change. It all depends on how we handle it. Will we show restraint, work through it and propel it in the direction where it will do some good? Or will we let our primal instincts take over and let the conflict spiral out of control?
As humans, we have several defining characteristics that set us apart from most of the other species inhabiting our planet. One of them is the capability to control our reactions to the stimuli provided by our environment.
Yes, we are capable; but how many of us have actually mastered this skill?
Even though the onus is on each of us to resolve our differences wisely, team leaders can play an important role in this process by creating the type of company culture that will make it easier.
A good leader will try to make each person on the team feel valuable, needed, and most of all cared for. This will create a foundation of trust that will make conflicts easier to resolve when they arise.
It’s amazing how concern for the well-being of others can easily be conveyed by simple sincere questions, like “How was your weekend?” or “Is everything alright?” When we feel we are cared for, we feel secure. Feeling secure makes us feel appreciated. And when we feel appreciated, the sky is the limit to what we can achieve.
When there’s a strong level of trust, care and understanding, it will springboard us to good communication, which will make it easier to solve our interpersonal problems.
It's our responsibility as leaders to provide that springboard to better communication for our team members. Even a few small changes in the environment and attitude can relieve tensions and make it easier for others to live up to their potential!