The best way to manage conflict is to prevent it ever arising. You can do this, to some extent, by promoting collaboration and trust within your team – and by preventing any individual from advancing his or her own interests at the expense of other people’s.
Here are some specific hints and tips:
- Don’t make decisions that will affect people’s work without consulting them first.
Don’t criticise anyone’s work unless you can make practical suggestions as to how they might improve it.
Don’t make personal attacks on people behind their backs.
Discourage other people from doing so.
Don’t allow cliques and in-groups to form within your team – especially if they think they are superior and/or want to score off others.
Reward people for being helpful and supportive to one another.
Constantly find ways to remind your people that success depends on their being a team rather than a collection of individuals.
Don’t back people into corners from which they can’t escape without either admitting defeat or escalating the conflict.
Demonstrate by your own behaviour how disagreements can be resolved without one or both parties being left with bad feelings.