Mediating Conflict in the Workplace
6 ways to manage conflict within your team
When people of diverse backgrounds and personalities come together, disagreements are bound to occur, the same is true in the workplace. In the best case, workplace conflicts are resolved among employees, but if allowed to fester, it can hinder productivity and create a negative environment for your team. As a manager, it is your responsibility to identify conflict and work towards a resolution before things get out of hand.
If left unaddressed, conflict in the workplace can affect everyone, whether it be customers or other employees unrelated to the conflict. Conflict resolution is an essential component of running an effective team and business. When properly implemented, it can provide the foundation for a drama-free workplace. Here are some ways you can make conflict resolution work for you.
1. Set a precedent for what is considered acceptable behavior.
In many instances, the conflict between co-workers stems from a lack of understanding what is, or is not, considered acceptable behavior. For example, if one or several employees are allowed to get away with bad, destructive or abusive behavior, other employees may feel as they are being treated unjustly. This is a problem that often arises when there is no clear definition of roles and what constitutes as unacceptable behavior.
One way to avoid this is to have clear delegation and a defined outline of each employee’s responsibilities. Additionally, there should be a set of policies and guidelines that dictate the expectations for employee behavior.
2. Know when it’s time to step in.
Not all conflict is a bad thing. Sometimes disagreements can lead to changes that improve the entire organization. It’s also important to give both parties a chance to resolve the situation on their own. However, there are times when you as a manager or your HR department will need to step in.
Some Human Resources experts recommend you step in these cases:
- Employees are threatening to quit over a problem
- Disagreements are getting personal and respect among employees is being lost
- Conflicts are affecting morale and the organizational success
Above all, a workplace problem should never be ignored or allowed to go unchecked. Leaving conflicts unresolved can result in problems escalating and blowing up over time.
3. Talk to both parties together.
Separate meetings with both parties can end up creating even more tension. It might look like you are taking sides, a situation you want to avoid at all costs. When you do meet with the employees in question, let both sides tell their side of the story without interruption. Establish a rule that any comments or rebuttal must wait. Only intervene if one or both parties become aggressive or abusive in any way. Then try to get the sides to come up with their own solution for resolving the conflict.
This will allow each person involved an equal opportunity to state their case and express their perspective. This will allow you, as a manager the opportunity to hear both sides and make a well informed and fair decision on how to proceed.
4. Take responsibility for your part in the situation.
Often, the work conditions or your own actions are the actual sources of the conflict. You must take an honest look at yourself and take ownership. Be proactive and ask your employees if office conditions have caused anyone on the team to fail. Then be ready to make changes if necessary.
Above all, it is important to remember that conflict can be an opportunity to make things better. In some cases, it provides an opportunity to step back and think about what you, as a leader, can do to improve the workplace environment.
5. Ensure every member of the team is aware of their worth.
Much of office conflict arises because employees feel threatened, dismissed or undervalued compared to others. Whether this is actually true or not doesn’t always matter; the conflict arises because of the perception. If the tension is stemming from insecurity, you must take steps to fix the problem.
A successful business is dependent on successful, happy employees. It is important to acknowledge your employee’s wins, provide feedback and have an open line of communication to ensure no one is feeling left behind.
6. Look for common ground.
Ideally, everyone on the team has a common goal – to meet the mission of the company. When you’re noticing a pattern with conflicts or disagreements, it can be a sign that it’s time to have a team meeting. This doesn’t have to be a punishment, look at it as an opportunity to get everyone together to provide their input and feedback on how to develop effective processes and solutions to avoid future conflicts.
While workplace conflict is inevitable, it can be productive. Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict helps your team members curb destructive behaviors so that conflict can become more productive, ultimately improving workplace results and relationships.
Everything DiSC Productive Conflict helps team members increase self-awareness around conflict behaviors and discover how to effectively respond to the uncomfortable and unavoidable challenges of workplace conflict.
With Everything DiSC Productive Conflict, your team will:
- Explore the destructive and productive conflict behaviors of each DiSC® style
- Understand how to manage their response to conflict situations
- Discover communication strategies when engaging in productive conflict with colleagues
Visit http://www.ahabusinessconsulting.com/disc/ for information about all of our Everything DiSC assessments and team facilitation or call us at 561.829.5611.
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