Once, I had two staff members who hated each other. You might think that's harsh, but at the time, they couldn't even stand to be in the same room with each other!
I had a TOXIC workplace culture on my hands!But that wasn't the worst of it. It wasn't how they felt about each other. The worst of it was that the conflict between the two team members created a toxic work environment.
The rest of the team felt forced to take sides. They avoided dealing with issues that needed addressing because there was just too much tension in the office. The rest of the team also felt the ongoing tension, causing them not to want to work.
How did I deal with the TOXIC workplace culture?If you've ever been in that situation, you probably want to know how to deal with it. So did I! Through working with my coach and training that I took, I first learned what not to do!
3 things NOT to do with workplace conflict
All kidding aside, here is what I did learn about how to deal with conflict from my coach, the training I've taken and over the years with countless clients I've coached through conflict situations.
3 ways TO deal with conflict on your team
1) Take responsibility for your role in it
Even if you are not directly involved in the conflict, you definitely have a role in it as a leader. That role isn't to deal with the conflict head-on, smooth it over, or tell those two people to smarten up!
Your role is, however, to lead the team through the conflict.
2) Offer conflict resources
Most of us have never learned effective conflict resolution strategies, so we honestly don't know how to deal with it. As a leader who wants to create an organizational culture that is comfortable working with and resolving conflict, you'll need to teach the team how to do that.
You don't have to teach it
3) Ask what support or help they need from you
If you have team members learning a new way of addressing conflict with a peer, they may need help practicing new skills.
Practice with your team members
What if that doesn't work?
Sometimes, working through the above 3 points is not enough. When conflict continues, it can strengthen and causes the workplace culture to deteriorate. It's then that it's time to reach out for help.
In this week's episode of the podcast, I talk to HR expert Stacey Messner, and she walks us through went to reach for help and the kind of services you might get to help your nonprofit successfully deal with conflict in your team.
To hear Stacey's advice, tune in here:
Surviving to Thriving Podcast Episode # 46 - When is it time to get help to address conflict on your nonprofit team? with HR Expert Stacey Messner
For help getting through that first tough talk with confidence, read these articles:
Members of The Training Library will find additional resources here:
You don't have to know all the answers. Your job as a leader is to create the space for your team to figure it out. To do that, you start with the courage to be vulnerable.
The bottom line is... that elephant won't go away no matter how long you try to avoid it! Your job as a leader is to acknowledge the conflict, plan for dealing with it and support conflict resolution on your team!
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.