CBS has some recommendations for Managing Conflict within a Remote Team

A significant advantage of remote team management is that you can avoid daily tensions arising from co-worker interactions. On the minus side is your ignorance of brewing conflicts that may become major blowouts capable of deadline destruction.

When workers operate from remote locations these are some of the conditions that might ensue:

Unclear messages may become more distorted due to limited communication.

Lapses in communication can cause conflict to escalate and significant time may elapse before conflict resolution takes place.

Distortion in communicated messages can occur.

Informal communication that takes place on a daily basis conveying much meaningful information is lacking.

People sent out to work remotely may go native, adopting the mind set and attitudes at a far flung work location.

Teams working remotely only receive 7% of total intended communication. When the primary method of communication is by email, it’s very hard to understand the true meaning. There are no facial expressions, gestures or verbal intonations to provide clues.

Some tips for conflict resolution:

1. Rather than use email, use the phone or Skype. Eye contact and the human voice can go a long way in conveying an accurate message.

2. Schedule real conversations on a regular basis.

3. Plan your conversations. Bring notes to make sure you cover all bases.

4. Address conflicts immediately. When ignored they may just increase in magnitude.

5. Bad feelings can permanently destroy a team, so prevent this from happening.

Managing conflict in the remote workplace can be essential to your company’s bottom line. Taking a course in remote workplace conflict management can ultimately lead to the productivity that is needed for optimal remote team management.

Dr. Annmaree Wilson, Senior Clinical Psychologist has developed a course on Managing Conflict in the Remote Workplace. Some of her key topics include:

1. Identifying the characteristics of conflict, including its stages and escalation

2. Understanding how you can effectively handle conflict

3. Applying appropriate strategies to conflict resolution

4. Learning techniques and skills for conflict management

5. Most effective approaches to conflict management

6. Controlling your reactions so that they don’t adversely affect outcome

7.  Learning to understand the difference between daily conflict and more serious conflict arising from bullying and harassment.

She recommends that effective conflict management can bring tangible, constructive results to any organization. Organizations handling conflict openly and constructively tend to be more relaxed and have healthy atmospheres in which people feel safe in speaking their mind. Research shows that workplaces which can effectively manage conflict have higher productivity. Their employees feel more empowered to communicate, express their ideas and ultimately be more productive. This type of organization results in higher job satisfaction and sense of achievement.