When you get a group of people working together in an office day after day, conflicts are going to happen. Workplace conflict is a major issue that needs to be effectively addressed by leaders before it creates a toxic environment. If left unaddressed, it can lead to a lack of productivity, increased absenteeism and eventually higher employee turnover. There are so many reasons why conflict occurs in the workplace, including: poor management, unclear job roles, personality clashes, inadequate training, lack of opportunity and so many others.
While it’s a natural human tendency to avoid uncomfortable conversations with others, that strategy won’t work in the long term. It’s up to managers to give high priority to handling conflict in the office and ensure all employees are committed to solving issues. Managers need to instill in their staff that disagreements happens, but mutual respect is key. If handled correctly, conflicts can result in growth and greater understanding within the workplace. Here are a few suggestions to make sure that happens:
- Tackle issues early. Waiting until a conflict escalates and turns into an unmanageable issue only makes problem solving more challenging.
- Find out the root cause of the problem. Ask open-ended questions that provide people a chance to talk and feel valued. Dialog is key!
- Take a look how you manage. Before you can manage others, take a look at yourself and how you handle conflict. Do you act defensively? What kind of body language do you use?
- Act as a referee rather than a judge. As a manager, it’s important to remain impartial when conflicts arise. Meet with employees individually and then together in an uninterrupted space. Once employees are talking through their differences, let them work it out and don’t get drawn into taking sides.
- Consider conflict resolution training. Many managers don’t know how to effectively resolve conflicts because they simply haven’t had the proper training. It can really go a long way towards making conflict resolution more effective for all parties.
Conflict is an unavoidable part of workplaces, but it’s how these conflicts are handled that counts. Leah M Joppy and Associates has worked with many organizations to teach them how to effectively handle conflicts. We give you the tools to diffuse issues quickly and effectively in a manner where all employees feel valued and heard. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email email@example.com.