Chapter 5. Knowing When to Address Conflict

In This Chapter

  • Determining the scope of a conflict

  • Considering taking action

  • Getting to the bottom of things

  • Coaching employees through a problem

  • Keeping an eye on progress

As a manager, it's inevitable that you spend a considerable amount of time involved with employee conflicts. But knowing there's a problem and knowing when to do something about it are two very different things. Trying to guess when you should let something ride, how much you can trust employees to work out a problem on their own, or where to turn for help if you're not terribly comfortable handling a conflict yourself isn't easy.

It may not always feel like it, but resolving conflict at the lowest level possible saves you time, money, and energy. Managers often overlook the cost of conflict, or the cost of doing nothing about a conflict, when considering the impact of disagreements. An executive once told me, "I provide conflict resolution training for my employees so I can implement their ideas rather than solve their problems." Smart cookie!

This chapter provides insight into whether you should step in to mediate a conflict on your team. It also gives you ways to monitor progress if you decide to put the resolution process in the hands of the employees involved.

Assessing the Cost and Severity of the Conflict

Even the smallest squabble takes away from important projects and deadlines. So when a conflict at work is increasingly taking more of your attention and you have less ...

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