How to Handle Workplace Conflict
Conflict is not a strange thing for people. Human beings experience it in their day-to-day lives — with their friends, families, and more so their professional lives. In the workplace, conflict causes a massive degree of frustration, pain, discomfort, sadness, as well as anger. It is a normal life aspect. In the world of today, organizations hire employees from diverse geographical locations with dissimilar cultural and intellectual backgrounds, as well as various viewpoints. In a working environment where people have disparate outlooks toward the same problems, disagreements are bound to happen.
#1. Don’t Avoid Workplace Conflict
Conflict is inevitable, so don’t shy away from it, manage conflict instead. As senior leaders, it is your duty to tackle the issues fairly and swiftly. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to resolve conflict at work.
#2. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
When handling conflict, actively listen and listen carefully to both parties. Put yourself in their day-to-day position to get a true sense of what has motivated the issue.
#3. Stick to the Facts
While we’d all like to resolve conflict in agreement, it’s sometimes not possible. So, it’s crucial to stick to the facts and ensure that no personal feelings or agendas enter into the equation.
#4. Focus on the Lesson
See conflict as an opportunity for positive change, growth, and improvement. What is the common ground? What can you learn? How can the business benefit from the issues raised?
#5. Communicate Business Values
Poor communication is one of the biggest reasons for conflict in a work environment or otherwise. Possessing and communicating company values is essential to any growing business. Company values help to ground decision making, encourage positive behaviors, and help to recruit and retain like-minded employees.
#6. Positive Employee Relations
Of course, we’d all prefer to avoid conflict arising in the first place, so investing in a culture of positive employee relations is essential for a productive workplace. This includes treating all staff with dignity and respect, being transparent, and establishing fair management systems.
#7. Lead by Example
While some employees possess natural management traits, most don’t so ensure your leadership teams are well trained and supported.
#8. Praise and Training
Dealing with conflict head-on and with these tips in mind can help. It is up to senior management to create an environment of cooperation long-term, not a competition between staff and team members, and the little things matter. Group activities, days out, well-being workshops, and team lunches help with this effort.
Bottom line… I believe resolution can normally be found with conflicts where there is a sincere desire to do so. Turning the other cheek, compromise, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, finding common ground, being an active listener, service above self, and numerous other approaches will always allow one to be successful in building rapport if the underlying desire is strong enough. However, when all else fails and positional gaps cannot be closed, resolve the issue not by playing favorites, but by doing the right thing.