Top 6 Leadership Tips to Prevent Conflict in Your Organisation

Leadership3Leadership is extremely important to all organisations. There is no doubt. Great leadership can prevent much workplace conflict. Poor leadership can exacerbate, even contribute to workplace conflict. There are, however, steps you can take to prevent conflict in your workplace.

  1. Encourage transparency of decision-making… People often become distressed when they are unsure of “why” decisions are made. When you make a decision a brief explanation goes a long way. Then people don’t need to make assumptions or gossip!
  2. Encourage open and honest, direct, and regular, ongoing communication between staff. This includes directly communicating with the people concerned when issues arise. It is essential that leaders walk the talk. Role model these same behaviours to staff. When leaders don’t walk the talk, some employees excuse or rationalise their own poor behaviour. Through openly, honestly, directly, and regularly communicating with staff many issues can be addressed and people can move on quickly and easily. When issues are not addressed at the time people tend to make their own, sometimes inaccurate, judgments about what occurred.
  3. Encourage cross-functional knowledge sharing to prevent silos. Many staff are concerned that they are not receiving vital information from other members of staff to assist them to do their job. Explaining the importance and benefits of knowledge sharing and rewarding these behaviours, as well as arranging cross-functional events to allow people to develop relationships with employees in other teams can help.
  4. Notify staff as soon as possible of the reason for upcoming changes to systems, processes, resourcing, or staffing (some staff are particularly concerned when changes occur in the workplace). A common complaint is that a warning would have decreased the concerns. Giving staff assurances can help if changes may lead to staff feeling insecure about their job or the organisation’s future. Being clear with staff that the changes will not affect job security may also relieve a lot of distress.
  5. Give staff as much if not more positive feedback, where relevant, than negative feedback. In personal relationships the rule of thumb is a ratio of about 3-5 positive interactions to 1 negative interaction. When this ratio is reversed people can become distress, feel anxious, and vulnerable. In some cases they may decide to lodge grievances or claims.
  6. Trust people. Where possible and deserved, show your staff that you trust them to do their job. Allow them space to do it without watching over them, give them tasks that involve complexities that they can handle, or train them to develop skills that would allow them to contribute more than they currently can. Most people do want to do a good job and feel pride in their work. Sometimes organisations do not facilitate environments where people feel they can. This leads to de-motivation and performance issues.

These are some of the top causes of workplace conflict involving leaders. They are consistently raised in workplace mediations by employees when the conflict involves leaders or leadership issues.

Many workplace conflicts can be prevented when leaders focus on, and commit to these 6 Tips. You could save your organisation thousands of dollars and your employees heartache by encouraging and rewarding these behaviours.


  1. Anonomyous says:

    I feel that the problem we are facing at present is that all these organisations have the bullying, harassment policies and procedures written in their documentation but it is just written and not adhered to, taken seriously or have awareness of or just simply ignored (small business doesn’t have any). I have been bullied (by professionals and a person in particular that had a lot of HR background) in the work place and still am but I feel I can deal with it as the present job is not a career it is a stop gap for my next step. So many organisations policies and procedures written material say to go to your direct manager, higher manager, HR (from my previous experience I would be and am to frightened to do so even though I see it on a regular basis). Depending on their own values, beliefs, power struggles/politics/motivations, often times the victim is the one that is blamed and/or bullied further (if casual been given less shifts, told to do something by someone you report to giving you phony believable excuse as to why, then getting repremanded by the manager for doing it. You explain I was told to do it by the member of staff you are reporting to. Then the next week your shifts are minimized. Although this is petty, ridiculous and them just playing games, it is wrong, unproductive and controlling. I am a really hard worker and when I am at work I work all my shift and more taking alot of pride in my work, trying do better than the last time I undertook the task and learning more about the role. I am getting too old in the tooth for all this garbage and although some days I can brush it off, I don’t accept it as it concerns me. Makes me very sad at times and really wonder where we are going as a human race. I have to work as most of us do and these issues are more common than not in nearly every organisation/small business I encounter. I am not saying I haven’t exsasabated a situation as I am human too. I do however ask myself what could I have done differently to defuse or stop a situation and usually it comes down to me appologising and trying to communicate as clear as possible to the other person what I could have done better which I don’t see as a bad strategy. I am starting to look for organisations with your philosophy as I feel that not only can the organisation grow but so can I as a better human being, freeing myself from ego, attachment to things and being happier for myself and everyone around me in a supportive environment. But often I feel that I am losing a bullying battle. If you have any suggestions as to what I can do this would be appreciated. One of your courses would be great although I am not financial at this time and have no staff I am responsible for. I do feel that development needs to start with me and to improve my communication and awareness.
    Thank you for this website and for reading my story.

    Kind Regards


    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry to hear your story and the level of conflict you have experienced. We are doing our best to reduce workplace conflict as much as possible. I am currently designing some online courses that will help organisations reduce conflict. I can let you know more about these if you like. I hope things improve a lot for you soon. Warmly, Caryn

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