Three Ways to Deal with Conflict in the Workplace
Workplaces are diverse environments. They often have lots of employees, who come with different personalities, work tendencies and backgrounds. Conflict is bound to arise! Here are a few tips on how to deal with conflict in a healthy way:
1. Peer Mediation
This type of conflict resolution was first developed for teenagers, but it is also valuable in a work environment. Instead of a top-down supervisor approach, install a peer mediation system in your workplace. A trained, impartial third party in the human resources department can do wonders to solve conflict. Both parties are able to meet and discuss an issue without the fear of a supervisor’s judgment. Human Resources representatives can offer a private, safe place for employees to resolve their conflicts.
2. Personal Responsibility
Instill a culture of responsibility in your work environment. Let your staff know the issues that require a supervisor or a third-party mediator and the ones that can be dealt with by themselves. Instead of a battle of wills, encourage your employees to take ownership of their conflict. Have them listen in order to understand all sides, and ask the difficult questions: What can we do to help this situation? How can we make it better? By putting the responsibility in the hands of your employees, you allow them to solve conflict on their own. When employees deal with conflict themselves instead of running to a supervisor, they’re communication and personal responsibility skills improve. Which means that they will be less likely to have conflicts in general and will pick their battles in the future.
3. Stop Conflict Before it Starts
As a supervisor, you should be doing everything you can to foresee tense situations before they arise. Do you have a big personality who runs over everyone? Be up front with him or her, and communicate your expectations. Offer specific guidelines on how to help with a work project. When expectations are clear, there is less chance of miscommunication, meaning less conflict.
Nip conflict in the bud! With these helpful tips, you can stop conflict before it starts and handle any that does crop up in a positive way. It’s up to you to create a happy and healthy environment in the workplace.