Some Effective Ways To Deal With Workplace Conflict

Posted on written by Sam Barton

Very few people thrive in an environment that hosts conflict in the workplace.

After all, the point of going to work is to be productive and conflict inevitably leads to a reduction in productivity and a standoff between either individual employees or departments.

While this can happen very easily dealing with this conflict and ultimately creating a situation that satisfies all parties is difficult.

We can’t tell you one trick that will resolve ALL workplace disputes but we can give you some tips to resolve the situation.

Accept That Conflict Is Inevitable

When you essentially throw a load of strangers into a room for 8 hours or more a day then conflict is going to arise at some stage. Even though everyone in theory is working towards the same objective for the company that doesn’t mean that everyone will get on.

In fact no-one expects employees to be best friends with each other.

The key to being a manager or having responsibility for a team is to first accept that conflict is going to happen. Burying your head in the sand isn’t going to do anyone any good.

Putting The Focus On Communication

Communication, or rather the lack of, is one of the main driving forces behind workplace conflict.

Someone didn’t get the memo about a development or are unclear of what their role and responsibilities actually are usually leads to problems. Keep a clear line of communication open to everyone in the workplace and also clearly identifying what each employee’s role and responsibility is can stop everyone treading on each other toes.

If you have conflict within your group then first look at your communication policy and how information, tasks and responsibilities are conversed to your team.

Using The WIIFM Factor

WIIFM or What’s In It For Me sounds like something that would help to foster conflict in the workplace. After all, are we not meant to be working together rather than looking out for ourselves?

As a manager or someone in charge of a team then you need to understand what your employee’s actually want. Identify first what causes the conflict to happen and then what that employee actually wants from their role.

Understanding their own professional motivations and working to achieve these for each member will help to reduce the amount of disputes within your team.

Emphasis The Strengths Of Your Employees

So you have called two employees into your office because they just aren’t getting on. Maybe this has been festering for some time and it is starting to hurt productivity.

Your instinct might be to chastise them or show how they are adversely affecting other people. This is only going to put them on the defensive and will likely create a feeling of resentment.

Instead ask them to point out the other person’s strengths. Sounds strange when you have two people that might not be on the best of terms. If they can identify something positive that each other does for the team then they will realise that both are vital to the running of the organisation and will likely get on better as result.

  • Workplace conflict can’t be avoided no matter how tight-knit your team is.
  • Don’t ignore it and hope that this rivalry disappears on its own.
  • Tackle the situation head on and identify what caused it in the first place and then work towards a solution that suits everyone and not just the individuals involved.

Workplace conflict, management skills, ILM management training from Project Skills Solutions

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