One of the most important skill sets a manager or upper level employee can master is an understanding of how to work towards conflict resolution in the office. According to the University of Colorado, managers spend up to 25% of their work day resolving office conflicts. This is one-fourth of a manager’s day spent not on important business tasks, but on resolving conflict. By learning to more effectively and efficiently dealing with office disruptions, you will have more time to focus on important daily tasks. A conflict free business is good for your employees and it is good for your bottom line as well.
Effective Communication Key
One of the best ways to resolve conflict in the workplace is to communicate effectively. Many instances of conflict occur when employees are simply mistaken about something that was said in an email or conversation. If the misunderstanding is not addressed, the issue worsens. Once employees start acting antagonistically towards each other, it is important to intervene as soon as possible. It is easier to deal with conflict when the reasons for the problem are fresh in everyone’s mind.
If an issue arises, the first action that you should take is to sit down with each employee and discuss the situation with each individual involved in the conflict. These discussions should be conducted on an individual basis, so that everyone feels as if you are listening to their side of the story.
Don’t Play Favorites
Favoritism is another instigator of workplace conflict. In some workplaces, it is best to draw a clear line between coworkers and friends. This can be challenging, especially if you enjoy being friendly and building relationships. However, if you only have professional relationships with your employees, no one can claim that you are favoring your friends. However, in life the boundaries between coworkers and friends often become blurred. If this is the case, you need to make absolutely sure that you do not let your friendships influence your business decisions, such as hiring, rewards, or disciplinary actions.
As a team leader, it is your responsibility to remind your employees of their value. During team meetings and events, make sure that you emphasize that everyone has a unique personality and therefore works in unique ways. Letting your employees know that individuality is expected and encouraged can help them to understand that some office conflicts are simply personality clashes.
“Faculty and Staff Assistance Program | University of Colorado at Boulder.” University of Colorado at Boulder. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. http://www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/fsap/conflict.html.
Stoppler MD, Melissa Conrad. “Office Conflict Resolution: 11 Communication Tips for a Healthy Workplace .” Medicinenet. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=60206.