Conflict resolution is a skill and a necessity in different parts of society. It’s a human thing. When conflict arises, humans either run away from it, or towards it and some of us are more adept at the skill of conflict resolution than others. However, conflict rears its ugly head no matter where you go in society, and it is even more important that it be properly resolved in the workplace.
When it’s affecting your workplace culture, it is imperative that the conflict be resolved and effectively as possible.
But how does one deal with conflict when it arises in the workplace, in such a way as to be fair, but also ensure unity and orderliness in a space that demands it? Here are some ways that unresolved conflict can be detrimental to your workplace and how to deal with it when it arises.
Unresolved Conflict Breeds Toxicity
Interpersonal conflict will often breed unnecessary toxicity in your workplace. If you are a workplace manager and you notice that two employees aren't getting along, or are arguing frequently about things, then it's important that you pull them both aside. In a fair way, ascertain what the problem is an attempt to offer mediation and encourage them to come up with a solution individually, rather than continuing to "work" together non-functionally.You can learn more about How To Develop Your Management Skills here.
Competition Can Be Grounds for Conflict
While competition is necessary and expected in a workplace, it can also be grounds for unhealthy conflict. There is a competitive side to working with other people that is healthy, but unhealthy competition in the workplace often breeds resentment, which can lead to conflict. You need to be wary of this when you offer promotions to certain people over others.
It would be to your benefit as a senior member of staff to explain to the staff periodically, perhaps in team-building exercises, that just because someone gets promoted, it doesn't mean that other team members are not valued, they simply missed out on the opportunity this time around.
Make sure you maintain a confidence boosting relationship with your employees, this will boost self-esteem and lower potential conflict.
Maintain Open Dialogue
One of the worst things that you can do in a conflict in the workplace is suppress it. This will make one of the two, or perhaps both conflicting parties feel invalidated. It is critical that you validate certain types of conflict (though obviously, sometimes people do just need to get over themselves) and allow for open communication between yourself and your staff. That way, conflicts that do occur are discussed and resolved before they become problematic in the workplace.
Personalise Your Employees
One of the ways in which employers can help mitigate conflict is to make themselves available to their employees. Sometimes, unfortunately, employees can bring their personal lives into the workplace, and this can cause conflict. By making oneself available to one's employees, senior staff are ensuring that employees feel comfortable talking about their personal issues, as a way to keep them from becoming problematic and allowing them to be dealt with on a personal level.
Establish Clear Rules
Workplaces can sometimes be a confusing place, but having an established set of rules, laid out clearly in a code of conduct will help all of your employees have clear guidelines to follow. This code of conduct can and should be fairly basic to the smooth operation of the business. It also provides you with a baseline to refer to, should any issues arise.
Managing conflict in the workplace can be a tricky thing, particularly if you're dealing with people. But these useful tips will hopefully allow you to operate your business as smoothly as possible and engage with employees as people and help them to deal with their own conflicts in a positive, constructive way.
If you want to find out more about enhancing your skills so you can better manage your workplace, get in touch with our team today to discuss your options.