5 Tips For Managing Workplace Conflict
Jun 21st, 2017 • Uncategorised
Workplace conflict is a consequence of professional life that cannot be escaped. Some people are good at avoiding at-work tangles while others are magnets for them. Eventually, however, everyone will have a run-in with someone on the job.
Conflict is not rare, it is estimated that human resource managers spend about 25 to 60 percent of their working hours dealing with it. Past and present conflict among co-workers not only causes stress and anxiety, but also results in reduced productivity as employees waste a lot of time avoiding confrontation instead of getting work done. In the worst case scenario, workplace conflict can result in employee turnover or even lawsuits.
Because it's unavoidable, it becomes crucial for you to know how to handle conflict in a way that yields positive results.
To help you out, we have put together a list of 5 tips that you can use to manage conflict in your workplace:
- Choose the right moment. Trying to resolve conflict while tempers are still high will obviously not have the desired results. With emotions high, logic takes the back seat – which makes it pretty difficult to reason with the concerned individuals. Allow the disputants some time to cool off and collect their thoughts before you make any attempt to resolve the problem.
- Listen. Get the parties who are involved in the conflict to tell you their side of the story separately. The more information you can get from them, the better equipped you will be to handle the situation. Make sure to ask questions that will help you get to the root of the matter. No judgements should be passed when the disputants are sharing their stories.
- Focus on the issue, not the people. You need to accept that people will always have different opinions and perspectives. When managing conflict, don’t criticise the views of others, instead focus on identifying the cause of the conflict, promoting understanding and tolerance, while aiming to reach a compromise or solution.
- Maintain neutrality. When managing conflict in the workplace, it is essential that you’re perceived to be in no one’s favour, otherwise a whole new problem could arise. Avoid passing any premature judgements and remain neutral whenever dealing with the parties involved. If you find it difficult to remain impartial during the conflict resolution process or the employees have a reason to perceive you as impartial, step aside and let another person handle the matter.
- Let the disputants come up with solutions. Ask the disputants to come up with solutions on how the dispute should be settled. Your employees will be more willing to accept measures that they come up with themselves than those created without their involvement. Note down the suggested solution and then use a selection criteria communicated to all affected employees for selecting the most suitable one to implement.
The key to managing conflict effectively is dealing with it early before it gets out of hand. Put in place an open door policy and make yourself approachable to employees as a way of encouraging them to come talk to you when they need to. This way you can identify and resolve conflict as soon as it begins.
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