The purpose of conflict management is to reduce the level of conflict in the workplace by being proactive.

It is an essential leadership skill that prevents disputes from damaging productivity and profitability, as a result of the distractions and the slump in employee morale that conflicts can trigger. However, this skill takes confidence to apply, which is why learning more about it and participating in training programmes can boost that confidence and help you to tackle conflict situations and other issues in the workplace more effectively.

We want you to become the best leader you can be. To support your learning, below we introduce you to four useful resources on conflict management. Each one comes from a respected source so that you can build knowledge and expand your skills on the strength of reliable information.

Conflict management (Chartered Management Institute)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the benchmark institute for raising professional standards in the management and leadership industry. ‘Chartered Manager’ status is the highest accolade a leader can have in the industry and it shows that they have the skills and training to lead a team effectively. The CMI is the only organisation in the UK that can award ‘Chartered Manager’ status. 

The CMI has created a detailed, downloadable guide to managing conflict. The guide sets out steps such as investigating the situation, determining preventive strategies, and other measures to manage conflict. It highlights potential pitfalls, including the avoidance of signs of growing conflict among team members; and it suggests additional resources for you to continue learning about conflict management. 

If you’re an inexperienced manager, or even if you’re not, and you feel that a conflict situation could be developing in your workplace, this resource provides clear guidance on how to approach the issue. One of the best things about the guide is that it expresses the information confidently but without pretending to be a failsafe. It offers further support by recommending the next alternative steps, including sending employees on a conflict management training course, if a suggested course of action doesn’t work. 

Why there’s so much conflict at work and what you can do to fix it (TED)

This talk took place on the famous TED platform, which is designed to spread ideas. The platform creates opportunities for experts from a wide variety of industries and walks of life to deliver short but powerful talks on a subject. Leadership is one of the many topics you’ll find talks about on the platform. 

In this particular talk, speaker Liz Kislik discusses the need to analyse the underlying sources of conflict management, rather than attach the blame solely to humans, so that it’s possible to approach the human conflict on the top. She describes a five-step approach to conflict management:

  1. Rule out the problematic individual and approach them separately with coaching or other means
  2. Ask the people who events are affecting
  3. Ensure everyone is aligned in their understanding of aims, decision-making responsibilities, and, as the speaker expresses it, ‘who does what to whom’
  4. Find allies in the organisation to help you implement change
  5. Teach new habits for managing differences

This highly useful TED talk encourages you to think about conflicting management differently and to consider the deeper causes of a conflict instead of merely viewing it as a ‘human problem’. Objectivity is important in conflict management, and removing the element of blame by ruling out the person who appears to be causing the conflict, allows you to get to the root of problems that are causing conflict with the organisation. 

Four ways leaders effectively manage employee conflict (Forbes)

The long-running publication Forbes, which publishes on topics of leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, investment, and affluent lifestyles, is highly respected. Thanks to an editorial emphasis on accuracy, Forbes has developed a reputation among business people as a reliable resource for financial news and information. 

In this piece online, the writer highlights four important aspects of conflict management and resolution:

  1. Timing the intervention right… the right time being when an employee has a track record of causing conflict
  2. Know the boundaries of your employees, so that you can establish standards that work to prevent conflict from arising in the future
  3. Respect people’s differences and learn to see things from different perspectives, rather than impose your rank or influence on the situation
  4. Confront the conflict head-on before the circumstances force you to

As well as learning to manage conflict effectively, you learn from this article why a leader has to manage conflict: leaders should have the confidence to do what’s uncomfortable, and conflict management is uncomfortable. Not only this, but the article also makes it clear conflict management is part of responsible leadership, and to not manage it is to create an untrustworthy workplace environment, whereas managing it helps to sustain workplace momentum.

Managerial capability, conflict management and productivity (PrOPEL)

The Productivity Outcomes of workplace Practice, Engagement and Learning (PrOPEL) hub initiative is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and supports improvements in productivity through enhanced workplace practice and employee engagement. Researchers from eight different universities, together with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), work to produce practical tips and tools so that businesses can take advantage of the latest insights. 

One of the products of this initiative has been the blog series ‘Managerial Capability, Conflict Management and Productivity’. As the series name suggests, these blog posts explore the links between managerial capability and conflict management and how they impact productivity, by discussing topics such as the ‘conflict competence’ of managers, the role of line managers, the need for investment in people management capability, the skills a perfect manager should have to manage conflict, and more. 

This insightful series will help you to understand the part you have to play as a manager in navigating conflict issues in the workplace. A recurring theme is the importance of managers having sufficient skills and conflict management training to address disputes between employees confidently and bring them to a satisfactory conclusion, as well as having the capability to maintain suitable levels of productivity. This may inspire you to participate in one of our conflict management training courses or in one of the various other courses we offer here at In Professional Development.

Book a conflict management course with us

This leads us suitably onto the subject of our conflict management course, ‘Conflict Transformation: Tackling Conflict in the Workplace’, which enables participants to develop the skills to manage and transform conflict situations in the workplace. On the course, you’ll learn about the causes of conflict, how to identify conflict situations before they occur, diverse strategies to address conflict situations, and the way to approach conflict situations confidently, positively and assertively. 

To book your place on this course, click on the course link, or contact us via the form on our Contact page, email us at enquiries@inpd.co.uk or call us on 0161 826 3139. If you feel your conflict management skills are up to the required level but would like to work on other managerial skills, we invite you to browse more of the courses on our Courses page. As in the case of our conflict management course, you can begin the booking process by visiting the relevant course page, or by getting in touch using the contact details provided in this section. 

Feel free to contact us for more information on any of our courses. It’s essential to select the right course(s) to take a further step forward in your leadership journey, so we’re only too happy to assist you in choosing a course that fits your professional development requirements.


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