Dealing with employee conflict is an integral part of a manager’s role. Conflict in your workforce may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to defeat your office morale or productivity. Find workplace harmony through efficient and effective conflict management approaches outlined in our blog.
Workplace conflict can be draining on your office’s resources: one study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that, on average, human resource teams spend 24 to 60 percent of their time trying to resolve workplace conflict, while a study by Christine Pearson out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that 53% of workers have lost time over stress of a previous or potential confrontation with a colleague. When different opinions clash, or office politics erupt, Adecco’s tips to mediating workplace conflict will help get your office back to its productive state.
Communication is key
Conflict resolution in the workplace is only possible with strong communication between colleagues and management teams. Whether the conflict stems from a communication breakdown, personality clashes or responsibility disagreements, the best way to resolve it is often through mediating a conversation with all parties involved. If a resolution cannot be found, consider bringing in a third-party mediator who can help provide objectivity to facilitate unbiased communication.
Address conflict head on
Conflict affects more than the two parties involved. In fact, when disputes erupt, the rest of the office may find themselves caught in the crossfire or brought down by the negative energy that surrounds them. Don’t tiptoe around the issue at hand. Avoiding the disagreements or building tension will only help the conflict escalate and further damage colleague relationships and workplace productivity. Act quickly, investigate the conflict to determine the root cause and address the conflict head on.
Listen to both parties
Managing conflict in the workplace is not the time to pull rank and demand that colleagues simply end their dispute. Rather, be empathetic and work towards resolving the issue at hand. Refrain from judging the situation and make sure both parties are heard and have the opportunity to explain their feelings and describe their frustrations. Paraphrase what you have heard back to the employee to ensure you have the best understanding of the situation and to give them the opportunity to add in anything you may have missed.
Work towards collaboration
Ensuring that your diverse workforce is thriving means that you have talented colleagues with different ideas and opinions who feel comfortable expressing their perspectives in a welcoming environment. However, with such an array of ideas, there is the potential for clashes that result in tension or conflict within the workplace. Use these disagreements as a starting point to increase creativity, innovation and efficiency. Listen to both parties and work together to create a plan of action. By incorporating each side’s opinions and ideas, management can strengthen their team dynamic and create a corporate culture that promotes collaboration and prospers from it.
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