Leadership and conflict management are inseparable. It is more than being a jury in a conflict. You should not be in a leadership position if you are unable or unwilling to deal with conflicts healthily and productively. Workplace conflict is inescapable; it will find you, whether you seek it or not. It is advantageous to have the ability to identify and understand conflict, as well as to resolve disagreements swiftly and fairly. Thus, leaders must possess good knowledge of conflict management strategies. Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg at Harvard Business Review discusses how leaders can handle conflict management.
Lack of Conflict Management Strategies
Everybody went through various phases with the pandemic, from hyper-alert mode to fatigue, relapse, respites, and healing. But now, people are entering a psychological dominance phase where they cannot agree with others and resort to overreaction and resentment. The author coins this term as ‘The Big Split.’ Splitting is like shutting out, a natural response for everyone to tolerate and shield themselves from unpleasant emotions. This allows people to avoid confronting their shortcomings while blaming their opponents. During this period, there is maximum resentment, self-pity, and a feeling of righteousness without any introspection.
Employees are caught in power struggles or decide to quit a seemingly valuable job for a change. Those that take on conflict management strategies during ‘The Big Split’ will make great strides and have a greater chance of progress and recovery. But those that ignore or minimize the destructive potential of ‘The Big Split’ will miss out and risk stagnation.
Conflict Management Is Fragile
Leaders must understand ‘The Big Split’ as a multi-layered mental conflict. Delayed gratification, feelings of injustice, and a race to fill the emotional void are reasons to feel disgruntled and dissatisfied.
All leaders and teams were at their productive best with the initial rollout of work-from-home. Then gradually, all this faded into fatigue, anger, and complaints, and people saw no purpose to their work. Furthermore, many people paid little to no attention to healthy habits. Embracing the new normal as one year turned into two made people give up on resolutions. Uncertainty, isolation, stressed relationships, and helplessness made people endure ego clashes and take everything personally.
Furthermore, the author speaks about how you can navigate your way through ‘The Big Split.’
To read the original article, click on https://hbr.org/2022/04/when-crisis-management-becomes-conflict-management
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