Everyone has their disagreements now and again, and when these disagreements arise in the workplace, they can create an atmosphere that is unpleasant to be in, and in some cases, an environment that is hostile.
While you may have your own methods for dealing with conflicts outside of the workplace, resolving conflicts at your place of employment requires a much more methodical approach. Arguing until you reach a common ground may be a technique that works for you with your friends and family, but in the workplace, taking such an approach can actually lead to distrust, can tarnish your reputation and can potentially hinder your position.
That being said, it is never a wise idea to leave a conflict unaddressed, as doing so can have a negative impact on the entire workplace. Utilizing effective conflict resolution strategies in the workplace will help to keep the work environment healthy and productivity high. Leadership, problem solving skills and the ability to make decisions are essential for effective conflict resolution.
If you are a superior who is handling a conflict between disgruntled employees, here are some strategies that will help you successfully handle the situation.
- Listen First. The very first step to handling a conflict is to listen. Allowing the parties who are involved in the conflict to state their issues will allow you to gain an understanding of the problem and will allow them to verbally announce what is bothering them. If necessary, jot down notes so that you can remember key points of the problem at hand.
- Start Troubleshooting. Once all parties have shared their concerns, you can start to troubleshoot the situation. Take into consideration everyone’s feelings and think about those key points that were made. Try to think of the best possible solution for the stated issues.
- Remain Impartial. It is always important that you remember to remain impartial. Remember that you are a leader and choosing sides, or offering a solution that has a better outcome for one person than it does for another, will only result in even greater conflict. It should be noted, however, that there may be instances in which you have to take one side over another. If you find yourself in this situation, explain your reasons fully so that all parties understand where you are coming from.
- Act with Haste. You should not delay handling any conflict that is brought to your attention. Doing so will only make the situation more difficult to handle. Not only could the problem become more serious, but if you delay handling the conflict, it may indicate that the issue isn’t of importance to you.
- Share Your Solution. Once you have come to a solution for the problem, announce it to the parties involved. Make sure that you clearly state why you have come to the solution and ensure that all parties clearly understand what is expected. Document the resolution so that you have a statement that you can refer to in the event that the same issue arises in the future.
Reconciling a conflict may seem like a daunting task, but if you are in a position of leadership, it is an important part of your job. Your ability to effectively resolve conflicts will not only help to ensure the happiness of your staff and the productivity of their work, but it will reflect well on your ability to be a good leader. Put these strategies into practice the next time a conflict arises and you will be able to quickly and effectively handle the situation.