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ALM #058: How to Deal with Conflict Like a Pro
4 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict as an Engineering Manager
📖 Read Time: 3 minutes
Conflict is a part of life, and it's especially common in the workplace.
I'm sure this isn't a big surprise for you.
You're spending most of your time dealing with conflict.
But you can look at this from two different perspectives.
Either consider conflict dark and destructive, or you believe it to be natural and an opportunity to grow and learn.
I prefer the latter.
Let me highlight that throughout your journey, you'll see many Engineering Managers display destructive behaviours that go from ignoring the conflict completely to fuelling the fire and making everything worse.
So today, I decided to share 4 strategies to help you deal with those everyday conflicts.
But before we talk about those strategies, let me tell you that your team is clashing due to a lot of:
unclear performance standards
unreasonable time constraints
All of these are within your control to prevent.
But today, we'll focus on 4 strategies to resolve the already existing conflict.
Let's dive right in.
Acknowledge the other person's feelings.
You don't have to agree with everything the other person is saying.
You should, however, be able to acknowledge what the other person is feeling.
Validating someone's emotions goes a long way when dealing with conflict, as everyone feels validated.
Four ways that you can validate someone's emotions are:
"Thank you for sharing this with me."
"I see that this is important to you."
"I can see how upset this makes you feel."
"I'm sorry that this happened to you."
Acknowledging the other person's feelings will allow the other person to be heard, encouraging honesty and safety in the relationship.
Focus on the problem and not on the person.
It's so easy to get lost in the middle of a conflict.
You'll often feel compelled to focus on the people involved, the different personalities and histories.
But here's another way.
Focus on why the issue started and not the people in the middle of the conflict.
Try to get to the bottom of the issue, not by judging but by asking how we got to this point.
Understanding the root cause will be the key to untangling the conflict.
Be willing to compromise.
No one will get everything they want out of a conflict.
One of the most important things you can do is understand where halfway is and meet the other person there.
Compromise is a heavy word, but adapting and changing your ways will bring you more rewards than sorrows.
Look at it positively and see how this new approach will bring you unique rewards.
Seek help if necessary.
Don't be proud.
Be humble and honest to admit when you can't fix the issue.
Ask for help in those situations.
A neutral third party can be the key to unlocking specific discussions.
Someone who doesn't come into the situation with bias or interest in the outcome.
Conflict is part of life, and you, as an Engineering Manager, must deal with it daily.
Sometimes you'll be acting as a mediator. Others, you'll be right in the middle of the conflict.
Remember that, above all, you should:
Stay calm and objective
Listen to both sides of the story
Create a safe space for discussion
Be willing to compromise
Follow up after the conflict has been resolved
See you next week!
Here are a couple of other topics you might be interested in:
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Have an incredible week! 💪🏼
Parada 👊🏼 A Leader's Mindset