Despite your fervent desire to be able to work in an environment in which work-related conflicts are never present, the reality is that work conflicts seem to be a part of life. The best strategy is to learn coping tips to resolve conflicts at work before they get out of hand and be able to put them into practice as needed. However, there are times when the best solution for conflicts that develop at work is to make use of professional conflict resolution services.
How to Manage Work Conflicts
When you try to manage work conflicts, it is important to focus on a solution to the problem rather than fixate on correcting the personalities of those involved. Start by framing the situation in a positive light and taking an approach where the parties involved understand that you are intent on problem-solving and not on finding fault. It is also important to tackle the issue as early as possible once the source of conflict has been identified. Here are some other tips that can be helpful when attempting to resolve conflicts at work.
Understand the Conflict
It is an integral part of human nature to try and find a quick solution to a problem. However, when it comes to conflicts in the workplace, aiming for a fast solution may not always be equivalent to a good solution. In workplace conflicts, it is important to take a step back and understand the conflict and what each party wants to communicate. Then, think about your point of view and how valuable it would ultimately be to the conflict solution. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to view the conflict from their perspective. Consider what agreements you might be able to reach.
Manage Conflict the Right Way
When you try to manage conflict, it is important to focus on a solution to the problem rather than fixate on the personalities of those involved. Start by framing the situation in a positive light and taking an approach where the parties involved understand that you are intent on problem-solving and not finding fault. It is also important to tackle the issue as early as possible once the source of conflict has been identified. Here are some other tips that can be helpful when attempting to resolve conflicts at work.
Do Not Allow Conflict to Fester
Although your first instinct might be to ignore the problem, hoping it will simmer down and disappear on its own, the reality is usually quite different. Problems at work that are not tackled in a timely manner tend to allow resentments to simmer. Achieving a resolution means a return to harmony in the workplace. Make a plan to resolve the conflict at work
Practice Active Listening Skills
It is easy to stand in front of those who are arguing and appear to be listening to what they are saying, while inside, you are thinking that this should not be happening again. Practice not letting your mind wander, mainly when there is conflict present. Make sure that those involved know you are fully committed to listening and understanding what they are saying but also that you expect the same courtesy in return when you express your opinion.
Use Open Body Language and Neutral Terms
When you appear as being closed off, chances are you will hinder the possibility of resolution. If needed, give those involved a bit of time to cool off. Then, agree that everyone will speak in a calm manner. Using neutral language, without pointing fingers or making others feel attacked, your words will be much more effective. Make sure your body language sends the same message as your words.
Respect Personal Differences
There will always be opposing beliefs, views, and styles whenever people are placed together in a work environment. Start by recognizing and admitting that people can interpret the same event or situation in different ways. Participants in the conflict will see it from a point of view that mirrors their culture and individual values and experiences. By recognizing that different people will use different communication styles, you can help build bridges leading to understanding. If people are made to feel at ease when expressing their own opinions and know they will be heard, workplace conflicts can be minimized or avoided.
Conflict Resolution Activities for the Workplace
Several conflict resolution activities aim to teach participants diplomacy skills such as empathy, compromise, active listening, and negotiation. When employees participate in these exercises, they may feel empowered to solve or even prevent interpersonal issues in a useful and constructive way. Some workplace activities that create positive results include:
Split the participants into two teams and select one member from each to debate a specific issue. After each round, the side of the argument is switched so that the participants now have to argue for the opposite point of view. This exercise helps practice empathy and understand different perspectives.
You Said, I Heard
The purpose of this exercise is to practice active listening and communication skills. Participants are paired up and given a list of statements they must read aloud to the other person. The listener has to pay attention to what was said and repeat what they understood. The original speaker then confirms whether the listener’s interpretation is correct. When this activity is practiced, team members can learn to speak clearly and avoid misunderstandings.
Why Is Conflict Resolution Essential?
If you want to have a productive workforce and ensure high workplace morale, conflict resolution strategies are a useful tool to maintain peace. Also, when you apply conflict resolution tactics the right way and at the right time, you may listen to unique ideas and get to know and understand other people’s backgrounds and beliefs. When you do this, you can gain a new perspective on an issue that might have seemed impossible to resolve. It may even help you change your own point of view on a specific matter.
When people understand that their points of view will be listened to and respected, they will feel empowered to work towards growth in these relationships now and in the future. They may also find peaceful solutions to challenges the team faces every day and better use valuable resources like energy, motivation, and time.
As conflict resolution strategies become more commonly used to resolve issues in the workplace, you may find that the frequency of conflicts starts to diminish, resulting in less absenteeism and greater productivity.