Managing Conflict: How Managers Learn Their Skills

In our Learning4Managers Survey we asked managers how they learned to manage conflict. The majority of them, to the tune of 38%, indicated having learned this skill On the job at a previous job. This answer was followed by 34% who claim to have been Self-taught.  On the job at a current job was the next highest ranking choice at 16% and finally In school ranked last at at 12%.

It is worth noting that no manager considered this skill Not Applicable in the survey, which underlines the importance to know how to deal with conflict in today’s workplace.

What raises concern is that at least three of every ten managers learned claim to be self-taught. This implies they do not count with the support of formal training in the topic, and may be exposing themselves and their organizations to serious consequences.  

Managing Conflict 2013

Leaders and managers come into conflict situations almost daily. The conflict can be with superiors, peers, with those they supervise and with vendors and clients. If these conflict situations are not well managed, they can easily escalate into more serious matters.

An argument between a manager and a Vice President can lead to ongoing resentments and loss of productivity. A feud between departments can lead to lost productivity.  Workplace bullying can lead to low motivation and frustration. A disgruntled employee or customer might escalate the issue into a full blown fight, and put the entire organization in the midst of a legal battle. In the worst case scenarios we have seen in the news acts of unbelievable violence sometimes caused by poor conflict management skills.

If managers are not sufficiently prepared to manage these situations, or are left to their own resources (and three out of ten indicate they are), we are putting our organizations and the people in them at risk.

In today’s business world we cannot afford not to provide sufficient support to our managers, particularly when it comes to conflict training. We encourage leaders and managers alike to investigate internally how their staff learned to deal with conflict, and to establish comprehensive training as well as policies to promote a productive and healthy work environment.

If you are interested in learning more about conflict resolution, attend our Conflict Management Webinar on May 22. Register now and get a full report with the results of our entire survey. Space to the Webinar is limited, Register Today.