Conflict management skills: Seize opportunities with sharp conflict management skills
Conflict management skills for today's business leader are key to seizing opportunities and reaching further. Let's face it: conflict is inherent in almost every business interaction. When you hone your conflict management skills, you can walk into situations with confidence and walk away with the best deal. Let's take a closer look at the role conflict plays in business and how you can leverage corporate training to develop your sharpest conflict management skills.
Conflict makes business tick
It's true! You see conflict at some level in every negotiation between organizations (regulatory & legal, supplier/buyer, partnership, M&A, etc.). You see it in competition to bring products and services to market.
Engaging in these conflict situations leads to opportunities and benefits for organizations. Less obvious are the benefits of internal conflict. Indeed, when managed poorly, internal conflict can lead to corporate disintegration. Yet top performing businesses actually leverage the energy that comes through diverging strategic perspectives.By embracing tension - say when leaders voice opinions against the wave -organizationsgain benefits like innovation, change forward and new goals. Executives with great conflict management skills are the ones who shape a company's success, they are the ones in demand.
What makes for effective conflict management skills
First off, let's understand that managing conflict is a key feature of effective negotiation skills. There is a goal for each side - in some cases, it may be a shared goal (whether they know it or not). By entering into a negotiation despite the (very likely) potential for conflict, all parties are bravely going forward to achieve those goals.
Conflict management skills to master include:
- Understand the real point of the conflict. Conflicts are often disguised in other names. And things like power, status, insecurity, stubbornness get in the way of what's important.
- Create or recognize the bond with the other party. Separate the issue from the person, set aside intense emotion or attacks to focus on solutions.
- Stay focused, keep the dialogue going and keep negotiation on the table.
- Never tolerate an elephant in the room-name it and talk about it!
- Timing: stay aware of the dynamics of the situation - always. Choose your moments and your circumstances. Raise issues when they'll be heard.
- Believe it or not, effective negotiation skills are not defined by "winning". Rather, you should leverage reciprocity, empathize with others to give when it's right and recognize concessions being made.
- Nurture positive relationships. If you've managed a conflict well and come out with good resolutions, this can serve you for next time! A positive, respectful relationship means you enter your next negotiation a step ahead and better able to leverage your conflict management skills.
Leverage corporate training for conflict management skills
Boosting your conflict management skills prepares you to steer through challenges and drive business results. A good leadership development program will help you hone your leadership skills including conflict management skills. Through leadership exercises and leadership coaching, you learn to manage change and complexity, communicate a clear vision and enhance your leadership authority- all the skills you need to manage conflict with confidence. Look to business school rankings from independent, respected sources like the Financial Times, The Economist and Forbes to find the best leadership programs to build your conflict management skills.
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Looking to build your conflict management skills? You may also like IMD's:
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- Or use our Program Finder to find your best program for developing conflict management skills!