March 27, 2012 - Conflict is a natural result of workplace interaction. It happens most often when one party becomes frustrated by the words or actions of another party—including individuals, work teams or departments. Conflict can be good, especially when the solution benefits many or encourages cooperation. However, unresolved conflict may lead to productivity loss and a negative working environment. Here are three steps to addressing workplace conflict.
- Foster Workplace Unity. Many conflict issues can be preempted by addressing the well-being of all employees. Make sure everyone on your team gets proper training. This ensures that all employees are capable of carrying their own workload and that they understand their duties. Team members must also understand the organization’s objective and their role in the big picture. Conflict resolution and cooperation becomes easier when everyone is on the same page.
- Work Through Confrontation. Often, interpersonal conflicts must be resolved through confrontation. Many avoid this step out of fear. Confrontation it doesn’t have to be ugly, with proper approach. You can mediate conflicts and oversee the process. If you feel it necessary, bring in an independent third-party. However, many day-to-day issues you should be able to facilitate yourself. First, familiarize yourself with the complaints and issues from both sides of the conflict. Then, encourage open communication. All participating parties should be allowed to share their thoughts and feelings. To encourage cooperation, you should withhold your judgment, letting the parties come to a resolution on their own whenever possible.
- Achieve Compromise and Cooperation. The most successful conflict resolutions benefit all parties involved, but mutual benefit can only happen when each party also agrees to compromise. Help avoid future conflict by helping cooperating parties put equal effort into the resolution. Successful conflict settlement lays the groundwork for more cooperation as the parties learn more about each other’s boundaries and workplace needs.
Sometimes even the most professional and conscientious workers can get involved in workplace drama. These three steps can help you help your team by facilitating a solution to the conflict