How to resolve workplace conflict

Whilst avoiding conflict at work may seem to be the easy way out of a situation, it can actually be a far more difficult path to take.  As tempers begin to flare and remarks are made to others, the best idea is usually to resolve conflict sooner rather than later. 

The effects of conflict in the workplace can be widespread and costly and much of management’s time and energy may be spent resolving conflict between employees.  Ultimately a lack of resolution can lead to a decrease in productivity, a high turnover rate, and increasing absenteeism from staff.  Owning a CENTURY 21 Franchise should bring you prosperity and growth, not conflict and downturn.

It is important to realise that conflicts are inevitable at work, but that they can be dealt with effectively.   Remember the best workplaces are not those without conflict, but rather those who can handle conflict well.

Address conflict sooner than later
Acting in the ‘now’ to address the conflict is the single most important tip on resolving the issue.  It is tempting to wait for an issue to blow over and be forgotten, however just remember in most cases conflict tends to escalate if it is not resolved.
 
Just ask
Sometimes there is a perfectly good reason why people act the way they do.  Knowing the full story can sometimes cause conflict to evaporate.  If you do not understand why a staff member or colleague is acting differently towards you or others simply ask them what is wrong.  A good example is “I noticed that you did X yesterday, is everything ok?”

Choose your environment carefully
A hurried conversation at your desk may not solve anything; perhaps invite the people you are having an issue with into your office or a boardroom so as to discuss the issue in a quiet and private setting.  Agree prior to sitting down that the purpose of the meeting will be resolve the conflict ensuring all parties arrive prepared.

Structure your words
Structuring your words may take time to prepare, but making the effort to think about what you would like to say can be extremely helpful.  Try to describe facts of the situation as objectively as possible to effectively communicate your point of view.   

Listen
As a manager and owner it is your duty to listen to your fellow colleagues.  Active listening involves tying to understand what the real situation is and how the conflict began, and suggesting how it can be resolved.  You can be empathetic and compassionate to your employees or colleagues without crossing the line.  If you are able to communicate effectively and set a good example by listening to your office, you should be able to empower staff to resolve the majority of office conflict.

What if this doesn’t work? Some conflicts are so entrenched in a person that they cannot be resolved by one single conversation or action. Sometimes finding a third party for mediation is the best option moving forward.  As the owner of your franchise your staff may turn to you.  It is important to watch your office space and acknowledge when to step in to the issues of others, and when to stay out of them. 

Posted by George Tarbey on 18/10/2010 at 2:19 PM | Categories:

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