Practical Application: Conflict Resolution for Team Leaders

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Team leaders often find themselves in the midst of workplace conflicts. Handling those is critical for a successful environment. In this activity, you'll find three scenarios, you need to solve, with leadership and communication skills.

Resolving Conflict

Workplace conflict can come in many forms. It may be the result of miscommunication between team members, clashes between employees and leadership, or even personality differences that make working together more difficult.

As a team leader, you could be confronted with conflicts and tasked to find ways to reach effective resolutions. Skills such as active listening, empathy, mediation, workplace coaching, accountability and open communication can help managers and leaders resolve workplace conflict before they become out of hand.

In the following scenarios, think about how you would solve each of these common workplace conflicts, and what leadership and communication skills you would implement. Write down your ideas for how you would resolve these conflicts effectively.

Scenario #1

Alicia and Lindsey both work in ABC Grocery's Marketing Department. Because the department is so small, the two work closely on some projects and then take on separate tasks, that are interconnected with other projects. Alicia is routinely late designing and laying out marketing brochures, which causes Lindsey to frequently miss her deadline for completing the text, on those brochures. This causes Lindsey to feel frustrated and resentful toward Alicia. But, unbeknownst to Lindsey, Alicia is frequently given extra work to do by their supervisor, which causes her to run behind on other tasks.

Practical Application

Think about how you might solve the conflict that exists between Alicia and Lindsey using specific leadership and communication skills that you are familiar with. Should you talk to each employee individually or call them to a joint meeting? How much should you do in fact-finding before trying to resolve this situation? How will you recognize the conflict has been successfully resolved? What is your plan for follow-up after the resolution process has concluded?

Scenario #2

Trey was recently promoted to a front-line manager after being with his company for only two years. Prior to his promotion, he worked closely with Chad and the two had a good relationship. Now that Trey has some responsibility for managing Chad, Chad's attitude toward him has soured. He has been heard badmouthing Trey to other colleagues and has been critical, and insulting, of Trey's leadership style. As Trey's manager, words have gotten back to you about the conflict brewing between Trey and Chad. What are you going to do?

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