Whether you’re managing a remote team temporarily, or managing remote workers is part of your everyday job, these situations come with unique challenges. Just because the members of a remote team don’t see each other in person every day, that doesn’t mean conflicts don’t occur. When you meld together talented minds, you’re going to have those minds differ from time to time. It’s the role of the compassionate leader to manage those conflicts and make sure all of you come out on the other side stronger and with a new understanding of one another.
In an in-person scenario, many of the same conflict management strategies are used, but in a different sort of way. You can sit face to face and really get a notion of the atmosphere in the room, and this can’t always be done in a remote work situation. You can also resolve conflicts by placing team members in different areas of an office, but this isn’t always effective when the team members are physically distanced from the start.
There are a number of sources of conflict when it comes to remote teams. Differences in culture if your remote team is global can cause conflict, and so can differences in communication styles, online communication skills, and how one approaches remote work. The root of all of those sources of conflict is easy to see when they’re written out—they all stem from differences.
We’re all different in one way or another, and that is what keeps work and life interesting. By melding different talented minds together, we can achieve great things. Differences, however, can sometimes lead to conflict. Getting to the bottom of them to turn them into understandings or similarities is how you can better manage those conflicts even from a great distance.
When remote team members have a difference in opinion or work style that leads to conflict, the soulful leadership strategy should start with figuring out just what those differences are. When the differences are spelled out, a compassionate leader can then work on improving communication between the two parties to make those differences smaller. Generating understanding and formulating a compromise can help the two conflicting parties see the positives and the negatives in each of their viewpoints. With greater understanding, conflict fizzles out on its own.
Compassionate leaders in charge of remote teams should work with open communication when diffusing conflicts and encourage it between team members as well. As all parties practice using their empathy, conflict turns into a challenge that only makes everyone stronger and better for it.
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