Conflict is everywhere and lately seems to be more intense than ever before.
That means as much as employers may try to avoid it, conflict will inevitably find its way into the workplace.
And if it does arise, you may need to incorporate practical conflict-resolution strategies to ensure your employees are working in an environment that is productive and team-focused.
Understanding sources of conflict can play a big part in how individuals settle their differences with coworkers. Perhaps poor communication has grown between individuals or different teams. Maybe there’s simply a difference in value sets and interests.
Poor performance from individuals or a group of people also can lead to workplace conflict. So too, can scarcity of resources, particularly when individuals are asked to take on more responsibilities due to staffing shortages, employee absences, or inexperienced team members.
Unresolved conflict can have lasting implications for a business if not handled properly, including employee absenteeism, turnover, and – worse yet – litigation.
So how can you minimize conflict? Here are our suggestions:
Address any workplace issues as quickly as possible.
Issues left unresolved can foster unhealthy, long-term implications for an organization. Identify the specific points of disagreement or contention and talk with the individuals and/or supervisors involved. Address the facts to keep discussions on topic. All involved should listen to each person’s point of view – and why they feel strongly about the issue at hand. Within these discussions, a compromise may emerge and lead to successful conflict mitigation.
Respect personal differences.
Employees are better served when they remember that each coworker’s experiences, strengths, and weaknesses are different. Respecting those innate personal differences can help lead to better understanding among each other, all the while maintaining professionalism at all levels of interaction.
Incorporate an action plan.
Once the issue or issues have been addressed, leaders should help their teams plan what’s next. Help them keep in mind the organization’s big-picture goals and objectives – how are they helping achieve them? Identify hot buttons and determine if they can be avoided. If more conflict arises, equip each person with ways to work through their differences and determine when it’s time for a supervisor to step in and help resolve.
Above all, celebrate situations where disagreeing staff were able to successfully work together and accomplish a desired outcome, ultimately moving your company toward continued success.