Effective Education Leaders Handle Crucial Conflicts

Many people go out of their way to avoid conflict for fear of an argument; education leaders know how to approach other people in a transparent way, which addresses their concerns. They understand that in the rigors of the school environment, tempers are likely to flare. You just have to learn how to address conflicts head-on.

Dealing with a problem early on will save a considerable amount of time (not to mention headaches) versus leaving it unresolved. For instance, when you see a potential problem brewing between adults in your school or district, take the proactive approach and mediate the dispute before it reaches a boiling point.

Dealing with crucial conflicts

Schedule a meeting with the potential combatants and let them know that you have been sensing the tension between them, and you want to get to the bottom of it before it spirals out of control, ending in something that everyone will regret. Let them know that the purpose of the meeting is to get to the bottom of what is causing the friction and hopefully find a viable solution. Inform them know that this is a safe space, and each will have a chance to address their concerns respectfully. Mediate the conflict in a nonjudgmental way and without choosing sides.

The end result should at least be a truce and a commitment to work together in a professional manner. They don’t have to be friends, but they have to be coworkers. At the very least, both parties will understand the severity of the situation, and most people will fall in line rather than jeopardizing their jobs.

When the situation involves someone who has an issue with you and your leadership, a similar meeting can be arranged. However, I would frame it as more of a heart to heart that allows the other person to discuss their grievances, and you can respond authentically. The other person does not have to like you, but they must respect you, and the end result should be a promise to act professionally in the workplace and keep our personal feelings out of the workplace.

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