Managing conflict in the workplace is important. After all, you can’t just ignore your issues with other employees or situations.
The truth about managing conflict in the workplace is that it must happen. This means that, yes, conflicts must arise. If they didn’t happen, then it would mean that everyone was holding their feelings in and not addressing real concerns. Conflict is necessary, but should not get out of hand. Managing conflict in the workplace can show us how to face issues in a healthy manner.
Ways to face the problem
Now, conflict does happen, and it’s not always a bad thing. However, you cannot confront every conflict in the same manner. This is when chaos breaks out, people leave their jobs, and money is lost for the company. There are certain strategies for managing conflict which helps resolve issues quickly and without incident. Here they are.
The first strategy for managing conflict in the workplace is to listen. It’s as simple as that. You might say, “Well, listening isn’t that hard to do!” But guess what? You’re wrong. While listening may be a bit easier for some than others, it’s complicated still.
When you are in a disagreement, most of the time, you’re not really listening at all. You’re only formulating a response to get the upper hand. Think about it. Now, if we were to really listen to the other person during an argument, we might be able to find clues for solving the conflict.
Maybe we have failed to hear details about the problem because we were so bent on being the “right” one. So, in order for managing conflict in the workplace, we must stop thinking of a response and really listen to what the other person has to say.
2. Be empathetic
When you realize that a conflict is about to arise, take into consideration the feelings and needs of the other person. Remember, you’re not in conflict with the person, you’re just trying to solve a problem. This problem has simply upset the other person and even in some cases, turned them into the “enemy”.
Being empathetic allows you to see the argument from the other person’s point of view. It removes the desire for control and replaces this with teamwork. The goal is to find a solution which works best for both parties, instead of trying to win the argument. It’s about kindness, consideration, and being fair.
3. Utilizing neutral locations
Most people don’t even think about the issues, yet again, some use it to their advantage. Choosing a neutral location for conflict management in the workplace is vital, however. For instance, there are unseen boundaries which inhibit communication between employer and employee when meetings are held in the employer’s office.
When this is done, the employee will immediately feel intimidated and afraid to speak up about their issues. Choosing a neutral location such as a coffee shop or the cafeteria allows both sides to feel comfortable enough to open up about the important issues at hand.
It also sets the stage for better listening and empathy too.
4. Remain calm
It’s imperative that you remain calm when managing conflict in the workplace. Anger creates additional conflict and brings about personal insults and critiques instead of facts. If you want someone to listen to what you have to say, you have to remove all animosity from the situation.
In most cases, the one who loses their head is the one who neglects to use facts in the conversation. They lose sight of what they’re fighting for entirely. If you are able to stay calm, you can realize that the conflict will be resolved, and a solution will most likely be met in the middle of the conflict. Few things are ever one-sided.
5. Find common ground
Some of the things that fuel arguments are differences. If you cannot agree on anything, then the conflict cannot be solved. That’s why it’s so important to find common ground during the conflict. Recognizing shared concerns and issues helps both parties understand that they need to work together.
Being able to work together ensures that there’s a path that can provide a solution. Most of the time, these commonalities revolve around recognizing there is a problem and agreeing that something has to be done. Then you can work toward making small agreed-upon steps toward finding an answer.
You can also agree on the worst case scenario if the conflict is not resolved.
6. Find the root
All issues come from some deeper place. Just because the conflict in the workplace keeps happening, doesn’t mean the employers are bad people. There is usually a root to the problem, a reason why conflict continues consistently.
If you find the root then you can work with that reason instead. It’s like medicating a health concern and not curing the actual illness. As long as you put a bandaid on each conflict, the same conflict will arise again. It will keep happening until you fully understand why.
This is one of the most important ways of managing conflict in the workplace, and it benefits everyone involved.
7. Differences are important
Just as you would try to find common ground and common goals, you will also want to appreciate the differences between employees and other associates in the workplace. Remember, differences mean various solutions to problems.
Appreciating differences allows you to take advantage of the positive attributes of your employees that you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Sometimes these differences are seen as problems and are pushed down.
Trying to make all your employees clones will not stop the conflict in the workplace. It can actually make it much worse.
Keep peace as much as possible
Because of conflict in the workplace that are unresolved, employees, money, and time have been lost. Implementing strategies for managing conflict in the workplace can greatly decrease this unfortunate fact. We all want to be successful in life, and so finding a way to bridge differences is key.
How do you manage conflict in your workplace?
By Sherrie H.
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