The fact of the matter is conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. The ability to recognize conflict, understand the nature of conflict, and to be able to bring swift and just resolution to conflict will serve you well as a leader , the inability to do so may well be your downfall. Here are some ways to manage conflicts at a work place.

Define Acceptable Behavior: Just having a definition for what constitutes acceptable behavior is a positive step in avoiding conflict. Having clearly defined job descriptions so that people know what’s expected of them, and a well-articulated chain of command to allow for effective communication will also help avoid conflicts.

Hit Conflict Head-on: By actually seeking out areas of potential conflict and proactively intervening in a just and decisive fashion you will likely prevent certain conflicts from ever arising. If a conflict does flair up, you will likely minimize its severity by dealing with it quickly. Time spent identifying and understanding natural tensions will help to avoid unnecessary conflict.

The Importance Factor: Pick your battles and avoid conflict for the sake of conflict. However if the issue is important enough to create a conflict then it is surely important enough to resolve. If the issue, circumstance, or situation is important enough, and there is enough at stake, people will do what is necessary to open lines of communication and close positional and/or philosophical gaps.

View Conflict as Opportunity: Hidden within virtually every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching/learning opportunity. Where there is disagreement there is an inherent potential for growth and development. Divergent positions addressed properly can stimulate innovation and learning in ways like minds can’t even imagine.

Laboratory block at Mater Ecclesiae Nursing and Midwifery School Luweero.

Bottom line is I believe resolution can normally be found with conflicts where there is a sincere desire to do so. Turning the other cheek, compromise, forgiveness, and compassion, empathy, finding common ground, being an active listener, service above self, and other approaches will always allow one to be successful in building rapport if the underlying desire is strong enough.