Supervisors Possessing Conflict Management Skills Can Help Mitigate Office Stress

Posted April 19, 2019 by Mary McGinley

People can be inspired to do good work just by simply having a good manager or supervisor. One defining characteristic for a good boss is one who has a good moral principle for both work and personal behavior.

According to an article by Valerie Bolden-Barrett appearing on the HR Dive website last week, research has shown that managers or supervisors who demonstrate good, ethical leadership can diffuse stressful or even harmful situations in the workplace.  Such managers tend to engage workers by discussing work-related worries and problems with them and direct them to react positively in negative situations.

A recent study conducted by San Diego State University’s management professor, Dr. Gabi Eissa in coordination with University of Wisconsin management professor, Dr. Rebecca Wyland showed that, “managers who demonstrate ethical leadership through two-way communication, positive reinforcement and emotional support not only mitigate this type of employee behavior but also helps alleviate stress in the work environment.”

The Dive reports that conflict management is one of the most desirable soft skills for managers. This is followed by communications skills, stress management, customer service, emotional intelligence, and other people-oriented qualities.

Ethical managers, according to the study, can help when workers home-life situations spill over into their work-lives and cause what the professors deemed as ‘hindrance stress.’ Hindrance stress can cause workers to view the demands of their work as a hindrance to their own goals and can deplete their ability to exercise self-control, causing them to lash out at others. Well-trained managers who demonstrate the soft skill of conflict management and demonstrate ethical qualities can help workers make positive changes for themselves and others within the workplace.

HR Dive warns that human resource professionals should be careful that managers are not spending most of their time resolving conflicts.  They can help managers do their jobs better by providing them the tools that they need to encourage a culture of both learning and cooperation at work.