Managing conflict, or taking preemptive measures to prevent it from becoming full-blown in the first place, is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership and management. Knowing when to address problems and how to go about it in order to avoid any further controversy is an ongoing struggle, especially when it comes to successfully managing the Millennial workforce. But it isn't an impossible feat.
Here are six tips to help you facilitate those tough, yet constructive conversations and avoid unnecessary drama and ill feelings at the same time.
1. Address it immediately.
If there's an issue within your team or with a certain employee, you absolutely can't afford to let it linger. What is, at first, a relatively small and manageable problem can quickly steamroll into a major HR disaster, undoing all of your previous efforts to motivate and engage your team.
And if it's something that you're aware of, you can rest assured that your crew is aware of it too. They are watching and waiting for you to take action. Doing so early on prevents any further deterioration of team camaraderie and company culture — the two areas that can be hit the hardest when policies aren't applied fairly across the board.
2. Take a direct approach.
This one is a scary prospect for managers hoping to avoid conflict, but taking a direct approach is actually much better than beating around the bush. Direct doesn't equate to being mean or overly tough though — it's about being honest and calm while providing helpful, constructive feedback as well as resources to assist the teammate in moving past the issue at hand.
To minimize the awkwardness and tension, use an opening line such as, "You might feel a little bit uncomfortable hearing my direct feedback. Please know it isn't easy for me to share this kind of feedback either, though I believe doing so will help us move forward."