How to Resolve Conflict Situations in the Workplace
When large groups of people work together every day, conflicts are inevitable. 85% of employees at all levels experience some degree of conflict. Conflict in the workplace can take many forms: between two employees, between whole teams, or between managers and their team members. As complex as the issue may seem, it is always possible to resolve a team conflict. To come up with the best solution, it is important to understand every aspect of the conflict. Why? Happy employees are loyal employees.
When should the management intervene?
HR professionals and conflict management experts recommend that management gets involved in conflicts at the workplace if:
– Employees are ready to leave because of this problem. Recruitment and training are expensive – it is often cheaper to find a solution.
– Disagreements become personal and there is a risk of loss of respect between employees.
– Conflicts affect morale and organizational success.
What to do in case of conflict?
Acknowledge the conflict situation
If a conflict arises, do not avoid it or pretend that nothing has happened. Over time, tensions will increase and the conflict will only get worse. Address this situation as soon as possible before problems and feelings become embedded in daily work. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to solve it. If you notice a conflict between employees, encourage them to find a way to resolve it. If a conflict develops between two teams, there is a good time to improve interdepartmental communication. If there is a conflict with one of the employees, address it privately.
Take some time so that you can talk to employees in conflict without interruption. When you meet, each person should be given enough time to say what they think the other party should listen to. Don’t let anyone monopolize the conversation or control the topic. Each person should talk about disagreement and how he feels about the situation.
It is very important to pay full attention to who is speaking. Do not interrupt the other person. Make sure you fully understand the message the employee wants to convey. Imagine yourself in their position to get a true picture of what caused the problem. Paraphrase and repeat what you have heard to confirm your understanding and, if necessary, ask explanatory questions. You can ask the other person to repeat the main idea or reformulate their frustration in another way.
Find an agreement
Your conversation will focus mainly on disagreements, but this can only be resolved once you have found points of agreement. It is worth trying to highlight examples or cases where both parties agree. What can you learn from it? See conflict as an opportunity for positive change, growth, and development. The search for an agreement will show a willingness to seek common ground and build relationships based on these elements of trust.
If you are in a managerial position, sometimes you have to become the main mediator in resolving labor conflicts, so it is important to never take a side, but try to remain neutral. Understand that you are there to help employees solve their problems. You may need to lead a conversation during which it would be worthwhile to highlight the positive aspects of the situation and suggest what topics and activities the employees should work on.
Conflict resolution skills need to be developed and worked on continuously. By mastering these skills, you will help employees become happier, more productive, and provide an example of how to deal with such unpleasant situations in the workplace. Read more: Why is Communication in the Workplace Important and How to Improve It