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A Process for Managing Conflict

A Process for Managing Conflict

Despite your best efforts in managing your relationship with your direct reports and in delegating work responsibilities in a way that promotes development and trust, conflicts are bound to arise. Without a clear strategy for dealing with these conflicts your working relationship with your direct reports will suffer damage, which will make it more difficult for your unit to perform as well as it might.

Taken to Task

You can follow a few simple steps to make your leadership more effective and to minimize the chances of conflict arising when delegating responsibility to direct reports.

First, define what needs to be done, how it is to be done, when it needs to be done, and with whom they should work to achieve the result. As your direct reports learn the task, frequently provide feedback about their performance. It’s helpful if you add some context – why the task is important and how it fits into the work of the organization.

When your direct reports know the job well, it’s time to completely hand off the task. Check in with them first; they may still be cautious about doing the task alone. Be careful not to confuse cautiousness for lack of knowledge or drive. Let your direct reports have control of how the task should be carried out. Make sure you understand their point of view about the work and how they plan to carry it out.

When your direct reports are fully confident in carrying out the work, step back. They may not want much feedback at this point other than recognition and appreciation. In carrying out assigned tasks in a manner that makes sense and is effective for them, your direct reports build internal motivation and reward.



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