Steps to Dealing with Conflict as a New Manager

As a new manager, you will most likely encounter different degrees of conflict ranging from personality differences, to competition for resources, to disagreement about procedures, and good old power plays.

As tempting as it may be to hope that the conflict will fade or disappear, the challenge, especially for a new manager, is to deal with the problem promptly and fairly so the toxicity does not spread. One of your jobs as a new leader is to create an environment of efficiency and effectiveness.

Here’s a good three-step process to follow:

  1. Listen and Validate: The first step is to clearly understand the root cause of the conflict. Have each side express their view. Remain objective. This is a fact finding mission, not a time to blame. Each person must listen to the other while you try to establish an atmosphere of reconciliation. Emphasize any points in common and encourage each to look at the ultimate goal while validating both perspectives as much as possible.

  2. Problem Solve: Invite their help in problem solving. Just having been heard may give them the opening they need to drive toward a solution rather than stall at disagreement. Your job as manager is to facilitate the discussion, keep the common goal in view and help negotiate toward a win-win resolution.

  3. Agree to Next Steps: Create accountability and a path forward by having specific next steps and actions to take if the problem surfaces again.