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Every team members’ professional reputations are at stake when conflicts turn messy. This is especially true for project managers and leaders. Here’s how to recognize and recover from workplace conflicts.

Swift Action Builds Trust
When conflict arises, a leader builds trust with team members by taking swift and fair action. Employees want to know that they can rely on their supervisor to act fairly and competently under pressure. If leaders want to recognize and recover from workplace conflicts, then this kind of trust is essential.

Know Your Team
Observing your teams’ behaviors as a group and individually is a pre-emptive strategy for conflict mitigation. By developing an understanding of your teams’ individual personality traits, you will be able to recognize signs of tension. 

Regular one-on-one meetings with team members allow you to gather their feedback and concerns. Keep the focus on the project, their role, and their professional strengths and skills. Then, act on those concerns in a positive way. An ignitable situation might become an opportunity to improve and innovate team dynamics.

Appreciate Healthy Tension
Healthy competition and tension can drive hard work and innovation. Keep competition positive and healthy by rewarding employees as a team. Team members who compete with one another distract from the greater vision at hand. Try building the team by channeling competition against industry rivals. 

Check Yourself
You have likely risen to your leadership position because of your skills and ability. Along the way, you may have relied on your diplomatic relationships and likability. However, reflect on your own agenda. Does it support the or is it individualistic? Examine your preferences. Aim to support everyone’s strengths no matter how divergent they might be. Your decision might not be popular to some, but if it is fair, then your trustworthiness will increase. 

Conflict is unavoidable. It occurs most often when stakes are high, and agendas are competitive. Deadlines, promotions, budget negotiations, or limited resources fuel any number of workplace conflicts. Take the time to understand your employees’ strengths. Resolve to reflect and act on your own inconsistencies. Keep the team’s eye on the big picture. All of this will help you react and recover swiftly and fairly when conflicts arise.