Conflict and Leadership Written by Justin M. Deonarine, I/O Psychologist Read time: 2 minutes It seems that conflict and leadership go hand-in-hand. A survey delivered to Canadian organizations revealed the following trends: Depending on the study, 93 to 99% of HR professionals see conflict management as an important leadership skill. However, only 17% of respondents report that leaders are effective dealing with conflict. On the other hand, 73% of respondents suggest that poor leadership as a common cause of conflict. While dealing with conflict is everyone’s responsibility, effective leaders are able to manage any conflict that arises around them. How can leaders improve their conflict management skills? Identify and address underlying tensions before things go wrong: Sometimes, prevention is easier than resolution. If you can identify and address tensions before they become conflict, then you will minimize the changes of the disagreement becoming a challenge. Be a model of the right behaviours: This could be an indicator of why only 17% of respondents think that leaders are handling conflict effectively. Rather than reacting out of habit, stop and consider the factors at hand (such as the goals and the relationships involved) and choose the most effective approach to conflict. Doing this consistently will indicate to others that this is the preferred way to manage conflict, rather than reacting in the way that first comes to them. Be clear about their expectations: Clarity is often key. Conflict often arises when dealing with unexpected issues. If employees aren’t clear on the expectations, goals, or resources available, unanticipated challenges arise more frequently. By ensuring that these factors are well-defined for their team, leaders can avoid creating the uncertainty that leads to conflict. What’s interesting is that these recommendations are based on general skills, not specialized learning. As a result, these skills will easily carry over from one environment to another, so developing these broad skills can help in more situations than just the workplace. Additionally, developing these skills can help improve your confidence! By honing their conflict management skills, leaders can make a positive impact on their teams, promote strong relationships, and pave the way for their team’s achievement and growth. Ready to strengthen your leadership skills and effectively manage conflicts? Explore our comprehensive leadership development assessments that encompass conflict management training. Discover how our tailored insights and strategies can empower you to become a more influential and adept leader. Contact us today to embark on a transformative journey of leadership growth and unlock your full potential in conflict management and beyond.