Resolving Office Conflict

In an earlier blog post, we examined some of the most common causes of workplace conflict. Conflict can spring for any number of reasons—miscommunication, competing priorities, or just good old-fashioned workplace drama. No matter where it comes from, quickly and amicably finding a resolution to conflict should be a top priority. 

Sure, you could go the Michael Scott route and look up some tips from Wikipedia (Win/Win/Win), or you can learn from the pros by reading on! 

Don’t Ignore Conflict

Did you grow up in one of those families that “swept everything under the rug?” Ignoring conflict can be an attractive solution because it’s easy and doesn’t require an awkward encounter. But then Aunt Sally has a few too many glasses of chardonnay at Thanksgiving and suddenly everyone’s airing their dirty laundry. 

The same holds true for workplace conflict, although hopefully without the wine. Ignoring conflict when it starts will only allow things to get worse. Empower your employees to tell management when conflicts start to arise. Believe them and take steps to address it. By ignoring the problem, you’re demonstrating to your staff that their concerns won’t be taken seriously and you could be creating a hostile work environment. Recognizing conflict when it appears is the first step in resolving it. 

Teach Your Employees How to Resolve Conflict

While you want employees to feel comfortable coming to management with concerns and conflicts, you probably don’t want to deal with every little issue. Empower your employees to handle smaller conflicts themselves and bring you the bigger issues they can’t control. Do you really want to fill out a report because Dave in accounting took Bill’s diet cola from the fridge? 

It all starts with good communication. Your employees should feel comfortable addressing coworkers and managers when they feel a conflict is imminent. Keep in mind, good communication skills aren’t everyone’s forte and you may need to conduct a few trainings to ensure everyone has the tools they need. Does Bill feel comfortable asking Dave to stop taking his cola? 

Set Up a Plan Ahead of Time

It’s true that every conflict is unique, but there are enough common themes that you can establish a plan and conflict resolution techniques ahead of time to nip issues in the bud. One great way to do this is through regular trainings or seminars. These don’t have to be boring PowerPoint presentations in the conference room. Try holding interactive sessions. Role-playing and conflict scenarios are a great way to engage your team and give them the tools and plan they’ll need to resolve conflict in the future.

Of course, you can be even more proactive by holding regular team building activities and events. Remember, your employees are just that—a team. Every team needs to know how to work together. Don’t wait for conflict to arise before you take action. Make sure everyone feels valued by and comfortable with one another. 

Engage Your Team with isolved

Resolving conflict at work not only keeps your employees happier, it keeps your office more productive. If you’re looking for more tips and strategies for managing your human capital, explore employee engagement solutions from isolved. Remember, happy employees make happy customers.