Whatever field your business is in, when employing staff you are bringing together a range of personalities that can leave you susceptible to tensions and conflict. Friction is unavoidable but there are strategies that you can employ to ensure it is managed in a professional manner so stability and effective working practices will soon be resumed.
If left unresolved workplace conflicts can quickly create a toxic environment with demoralized employees. Rising levels of staff dissatisfaction can have adverse effects not only on their behaviour and mental health but have a wider negative impact on the business including higher levels of absenteeism and staff turnover.
Workplace conflicts can stem from an array of reasons at any time. Personal differences between employees, misunderstandings, conflicting working styles, others failing to deliver agreed tasks and personality clashes can be some of the factors you might have to resolve between employees. Here are some ways to quash conflict before it has a lasting impact.
Leaders may find the key to halting workplace conflict lies in honing communication skills. When facing conflict it is important to be direct and deal with it head on. When left unresolved, resentment can quickly build up between parties and can backfire onto yourself and your business so no matter how uncomfortable you might find it, it is in everyone’s best interests to resolve straight away rather than being left to fester. Sit down both parties, you could seek an external mediator, and discuss the root cause of the conflict so no future tension arises.
To stop any future similar conflicts occurring, create a forum for employees to discuss their views and how they are feeling. The chance to air their thoughts and concerns stops resentment building and provides you with practical guidance to improve the employee experience as you have created an environment for talking and where everyone is listened to.
Lead from the front
To ensure they come to you with any issues make sure you have built meaningful relationships with staff so you are approachable in their time of need. Act in the way you wish to see others act and make it clear in your company culture you would like an honest and open environment. When you then manage conflict, you can then refer back to these values and demonstrate how they need to change their behaviour to align with these.
Don’t make it personal
As a leader, you need to remain impartial when dealing with conflict and act in the best interests of both parties to resolve the issue. It is your duty of care to support all your employees and try to keep any personal matters or your own thoughts on them as a person to one side. All points need to remain purely professional and based on their specific actions to stop anyone from feeling they are being victimised. Remember that if you do not handle it in a professional manner, this could be brought up against you in the future and it could also deter future individuals from speaking up.
Learn the art of compromise
Conflict resolution will most likely come in the form of compromise. If both parties can reach an amicable agreement everyone is more likely to feel satisfied they have been listened to and their points have been fully addressed. You want to strive as much as possible to create an environment free of resentment or tension between each other.
No matter how hard you try tension within the workplace will arise but as long as you are one step ahead and working towards a resolution, rather than admiring the conflict, your staff will be happy to see you are taking a proactive approach and in the long term, this will ensure employees are encouraged to speak openly and voice opinions.
Looking to the future, when conflict arises, use this as an opportunity to work with your team and open up discussions to enable a positive working environment.
If you would like further assistance in managing conflict in the workplace, Get in touch.