HIGH FIVE

"Where intent is wrong, deal with it firmly"

Kiran Bhagwanani, CEO of Dimension Data, on how to effectively manage workplace conflict

Soumik Kar

Evangelise the strategy: Make sure every employee understands and internalises the company strategy and execution plan. Employees step up the game when they know how their efforts contribute to organisational growth and that gives them a sense of purpose, minimising conflict. 

Ensure transparency: Fairness and objectivity in decision-making is critical. Employees appreciate knowing what you stand for and consistency in your responses. Ensure transparent communication at all levels. Clear expectation setting and honest feedback must be shared, be it strengths or weaknesses. 

Defining roles: Clarity in role definitions helps reduce overlap and disagreements. Being a global matrix organisation, we follow RACI matrix  quite effectively to help define roles and responsibilities.

Look for convergence: Look at the intent behind conflict. Where intent is wrong, deal with it firmly and where it is right, start with points of convergence. Start on a common ground and then harmonise differing viewpoints that may actually open up an alternate approach to a situation.

Maintain balance: Finally, it’s all about people and culture. Dimension Data encourages all leaders to appeal to each individual’s head and heart. The head provides logic and the heart provides passion and energy. Where there is a fine balance between the two, disagreements are minimised. 

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