Conflict in the Workplace – Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash
No workplaces are exempt from conflict. Employees may encounter problems with their employers, managers, co-workers, clients, and other stakeholders in the business.
Knowing how to handle conflict in the workplace is essential when you’re a business owner, especially when inaction can lead to resignations, productivity loss, and even legal action. If you don’t believe your conflict resolution skills are as fine-tuned as they could be, it’s time to act. Learn about some of the best ways to handle conflict in the workplace below.
Table of Contents
Get Legal Advice
Sometimes, a conflict in the workplace can be so severe that you aren’t sure how you’ll be able to bring it to a successful resolution. In that case, it might be worth speaking to a business lawyer. Experienced business lawyers specialize in conflict, commercial matters, and defamation while providing general employment advice.
They can listen to the problems you’ve been facing, identify the potential ramifications, and help you put steps in place to resolve your conflict as peacefully as possible.
Identify the Conflict Source
When you’re a business owner or manager, you might not spend much time on the frontline with your employees, so it’s often easy to miss conflicts happening right underneath your nose.
When an issue comes to your attention, speak to everyone involved to find its source and learn the opinions of everyone involved. This investigative approach ensures you have all the facts to solve problems and make informed decisions.
Listen and Provide Space to Talk
Depending on the severity of the conflict in the workplace your employees are experiencing, you might see the value in bringing all parties into a neutral and private location to let everyone air their views and opinions about what happened.
Your job in this situation is to listen, provide a positive and assertive environment, and give everyone the same amount of time to talk. Promote openness, honesty, and problem-solving, and you can help everyone work together in harmony once more.
Photo by Headway on Unsplash
Prevent Conflict in the Workplace
If you find yourself putting out one figurative fire after another, it might be time to think about why conflicts are breaking out in the first place. Are job descriptions not detailed enough? Are you not the leader you thought you were?
Pay attention to the cause of most conflicts, and see if you can take care of the root cause to prevent more problems in the future.
The best way to manage conflict in the workplace is, of course, by developing solutions to the issues leading to those conflicts. If you can do this the first time they arise, all the better. As you’ve already taken the time to sit down with your team to find out what the problems are, you can now devise ways to ensure all employees are happy to move forward conflict-free.
Your solution might involve redefining job descriptions to define the role of some employees better or requesting that some employees change how they react or respond to certain situations. You might even need to take drastic steps, such as disciplinary action for repeat offenders.
If you haven’t felt confident throughout the conflict resolution process, you might even identify the need for leadership training to improve your conflict management skills.
You may be an experienced leader, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know how to approach every conflict in the workplace that arises. However, if you follow the steps above, you should be able to address current conflicts plaguing your workplace and prevent further problems in the future.