3 Ways You Can Effectively Address Workplace Conflict
When was the last time you experienced a conflict at work? According to recent studies chances are you’ve experienced some sort of conflict around the office or on-site at some time. In fact conflict in the workplace has risen over time, particularly since the onset of the recession in 2008. Statistics like this make the month of April all the more important. April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month, the perfect time to consider how workplace conflict is addressed – or not – at your place of work. In our experience too many employees and managers alike ignore workplace conflict and do nothing to effectively encourage their coworkers and staff to address and work out their differences. But when it comes to worker safety, we believe we should never ignore conflict.
When left unresolved, conflicts can quickly poison not only relationships between coworkers, but also the overall work culture. Ultimately unresolved conflicts can impact how safe an employee feels, which can lead to lowered worker productivity. Just a few examples of workplace conflicts that can interfere with day-to-day work include:
- Passive-aggressive behavior and comments
- High-stress environments
- Disputes over workloads
Additionally, sometimes outside conflicts can become a work issue. And these are just four of the possible scenarios that could cause tension around work. Ultimately, workplace conflict is bad not just for workers’ environmental health, but for the bottom line of the business. That’s why any conflicts that arise at work must be dealt with openly and honestly. And while no one likes addressing conflict, ignoring conflict can lead to far worse consequences. That’s why today we want to share tips to help you address workplace conflicts, courtesy of www.susansolovic.com/:
1. Accept conflict resolution as part of your job. Good conflict resolution can result in restored personal relationships and also improve the efficiency of your business. Left alone, conflicts grow and they begin to poison the water. You’ll find that employees start to take sides and before long, everyone’s involved and no one is enjoying work. When you can solve these problems early, you lift everyone’s spirits and may even create more evangelists for your business from within your workforce.
2. Stay cool, calm and collected. Whether you find yourself directly involved in a conflict or the person trying to resolve a conflict between others, keep your cool at all times. You cannot let your emotions drive any decision you might make when you’re trying to deal with conflict. Your calmness will eventually transfer to the others, however it may take time. Be patient. By collected, I mean keep your thinking logical and focused on what is best for the business and the individuals involved. You do not want to make a decision that you will later regret. Sometimes this means that everyone needs to take a “time out” to cool down, think things over and then come back together.
3. Be proactive. The best way to deal with problems is to prevent them. Let your employees know that poor attitudes and behaviors are not tolerated. Establish a high degree of professionalism. Treat everyone with respect and instill that virtue in your entire staff. When you feel conflict rising between you and a coworker, communicate with one another. Deal with it before it grows. Understand that listening is perhaps the most important attribute of a good leader, and when you do have to talk, select your words carefully. Finally, if your business has a human resources department or professional, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Do you currently have a plan in place to address workplace conflicts? Will these tips help you address conflict more effectively in the future? We want to hear from you – please share your thoughts, stories and best practices with us in the comments!