No matter what company you work for, or whether you are a regular employee or a team leader, you will come into conflict with other people sooner or later. This usually happens because people in the workplace have different views on problem solving and different temperaments.
Even though many people like to avoid conflict, it is best to work directly on resolving it, as it can escalate greatly over time. Directly addressing the problem is a better way to resolve it than pushing it under the rug and letting it boil. Let’s take a look at what steps should be taken to reduce conflict in the workplace and to have it resolved in the correct way.
The first line of defense against conflicts are rules. They serve to give certain liberties to employees but also demonstrate which types of behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Luckily, with software tools, sharing this information with employees is fairly easy.
Additionally, this information can also be included in the employee safety training as conflicts can lead to serious psychological and physical abuse in the workplace. The stricter the rules are, the better.
Work on Conflict Prevention
Don’t believe that just because you’ve set up rules that you’ve solved a problem. We’re all human, and over time, all of us tend to lose patience, especially if there is a deadline looming in the background.
It’s important that you, as the team leader, pay attention to the relationships between employees and immediately address any issue that you can see occurring before it blows up in a devastating conflict.
Communication is the best approach you can pick. The moment you notice some tensions arising, it’s best to deal with them immediately. This will prevent serious problems from occurring, especially in the long run, when solving a conflict is a much bigger challenge.
Educate Employees on Being More Understanding
Each of us has a way of getting tasks and problems resolved. However, this can be problematic when working in a team, especially when a person is stubborn and doesn’t want to look at problem solving from a different perspective. One of the most challenging things that any person struggles with is accepting that they’re wrong. Instead of admitting it, people are ready to create serious conflicts.
This is something that the whole company can help with. Providing education for your employees can help them become much more understanding, less stubborn, and more open-minded. Taking these steps will make it easier for you to establish a different atmosphere in your company. It will help your company become a place where people are far more understanding and ready to work together.
Revise Your Position in the Conflict
If you’re a participant in the conflict, you should take a serious look at your stance. How are you addressing the issue? Are you insulting the person you’re talking with? Are you really right about the claims you’re making?
Being self-aware is challenging for many people, but being stubborn doesn’t make you right. Therefore, once the conflict is over, take a look at all of your actions and challenge yourself by taking a look at whether you were right or wrong.
If you’re ready to admit to yourself that you might have made a mistake, it’s crucial to approach the person you had the conflict with and apologize. This goes a long way and can prevent future conflicts from occurring. Additionally, it will show the whole company that you’re an emotionally intelligent person. That will set an example for all the others to follow.
Conflict is Only a Symptom
In the majority of scenarios, conflict is only a symptom of an underlying issue. Sometimes, it’s a problem with communication. On the other hand, some conflicts arise when a person is irritable because of a completely different reason. It’s critical to perceive what the actual cause of the problem is.
Sometimes, doing this is quite challenging, as not all people are equally communicative. However, finding the cause is necessary, because it is the only way of preventing the same thing from occurring in the future.
Work on Building Relationships
Even though you’re spending a lot of time with someone at the office, you might never get to know more about the person. This is why it’s important to organize team-building activities. They’re perfect for connecting people who work together on a daily basis.
Through these activities, people get to improve their communication and get to know each other better. By bringing people closer together, you reduce the chances of conflicts occurring. The reason for this is because relationships are improving, which means tolerance and understanding are improving, too.
Miscommunication is the most common cause of conflicts, and by creating team building activities, you can improve employee communication, since many people are more likely to share more in a more relaxed environment.
These are some ways in which you can lower and prevent conflicts in the future. The main focus of the whole company should be on actively working on communication. Ultimately, better communication will will have positive effects on your employees over a longer period of time.
About the Author
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has seven-plus years of experience working with ProProfs learning management system and other eLearning authoring tools, which has given him a hands-on experience of the latest course authoring software and an exclusive insight into the eLearning industry.