Leaders must learn how to deal with conflict.
Be honest, I mean really honest. Are you comfortable with conflict? By that I don’t mean that you are aggressively looking for some form of fight, but when conflict comes up, can you confront it with compassion and empathy? Do have the skills to resolve the issues?
If not, you can be certain that your team’s morale is going to tank faster than a preschooler who needs a nap because conflict is the nature of relationship.
You’ve got to understand that crappy moral is contagious! Problems that don’t get addressed, be they feuds between departments (silos), interpersonal quarrels, or performance issues all negatively impact employee enthusiasm, motivation, and ultimately loyalty.
Before we go any further, I want to set something straight…small problems do not go away. Small problems that are ignored develop into resentment, and will develop into bigger problems. (Don’t believe me? Ask the person you live with…Go on, I dare you.)
A leader who does not–or cannot–deal with conflict will immediately start to lose the trust and respect of her/his employees. And you and I both know that you can’t lead without trust and respect.
That being said, a leader who is a master of conflict resolution knows that healthy conflict creates a deepening bond. (Again, if you don’t believe me, ask the person you live with if, after you have actually stopped avoiding the conflict and got it all out on the table, they inevitably feel closer to you.)