Handling Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict can be incredibly difficult to navigate for the person going through it – ideally, it should be a cut-and-dry case, but often it takes a long time to come to light, and there might be numerous things that are going on. 

Workplace conflict isn’t always loud; it can be quiet and insidious. As part of your management, you should take the following steps to help people navigate workplace conflict. Also, a zero tolerance and open door policy are one of the best courses of action. 

Conversation 

Depending on the people involved, you might be able to have an open conversation in the same room and see if the issue can be resolved. Where these issues aren’t just surface level, and there are other prejudices at play – then you need to take firm action to remove the person or person who is causing these issues. Where there is a disagreement that is about the work, this can often be resolved with some mediation and time.

Active listening 

Before you step in with solutions, it is important that you take the time to get the full breadth of the situation. Often it can be easier to take a quick approach and separate the people who are in conflict. This doesn’t solve anything, as both will leave filling unsatisfied. Listen carefully, actively listen and don’t look to place blame if there is none, but don’t hesitate to hold people accountable for actions. 

Dangerous roles

Some roles are much more dangerous than others. Where the role itself is dangerous, it would be that workplace conflict isn’t between staff, but it could be between staff and customers. 

In this care, you should have clear protocols on how to deal with dangerous situations, in-depth training that is renewed regularly, and learn more about as many staff as possible having first aid training. 

Points of Agreement 

Even in the middle of heated disagreement, there might be some bridges that can be built on what both parties agree on. Once the points of agreement are highlighted, it is easier to soothe hot tempers.

It can be the case that what is agreed on actually has more weight than the disagreement, and both parties might naturally come to that conclusion. Keep track of all points of contention and talk through them. 

Essential 

Which point of conflict is the most important, and what would they like to see done about it? Where there is an agreement about the overall action to be taken about the issue, this could be the end of the situation. 

Seek to resolve the essential points in the most relaxed way. It could be that you’ll need to switch out team members, drop a new client, or change the way that these things are done in the future. Sometimes workplace conflicts can lead to an overall positive change for the company. 

Further reading:

 

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