Keeping conflict out of your workplace isn’t easy. It’s nearly impossible if you have people coming and going, changing shifts, and dealing with a wide variety of personalities. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! There are ways to incorporate conflict into your company culture that will elevate everyone involved instead of lowering morale and burning everyone out.
What is Conflict?
Conflict is a natural part of human interaction, and is present in many situations outside of work as well. When one person’s actions cause distress or frustration in another person, that is conflict. A workplace conflict is any disruption to productivity, lower morale, and potentially damage interpersonal relationships. When conflict is brought up in the workplace, it can be especially problematic because it is often times accompanied by emotions such as frustration, anger, disappointment, and upset. These emotions can cause higher levels of stress for all the people involved, whether it be the individuals who are frustrated or the individuals who are attempting to support and understand that person. Conflict can be a good thing. For example, if two managers are disagreeing about how to handle a certain situation, this can be extremely helpful. They can air their different opinions and create a better solution. However, when conflict is brought up in the workplace and is not handled appropriately, it can cause damage to productivity and morale.
How to Prevent Conflict in the Workplace
There are a number of ways you can prevent conflict from entering your workplace. The first and easiest way is to recognize that conflict is a part of life and isn’t something that you need to be afraid of or hide from. If you approach it as simply another opportunity for growth and development, you’ll be much more open to the fact that conflict is a part of life, and rather than causing damage, can serve as a helpful learning experience. Another key way to prevent conflict from entering your workplace is having clear and open communication between employees. When one person is feeling frustrated, they often times bottle it up and send it out as anger later on. If you’re open and honest with each other, you avoid these misunderstandings and lack of communication down the line. Be aware of the types of conflicts that can arise in your workplace. Different conflicts can arise based on the personalities of the people involved, the nature of the work they’re doing, and the environment they are in.
Know the Types of Conflicts That Can Occur in the Workplace
There are certain conflicts that are going to occur in the workplace more than others. If you’re proactive about how you approach these conflicts from the beginning, you can avoid them from becoming larger problems.
Conflicts between employees – The most common type of conflict that occurs in the workplace is a clash of values between employees. These types of conflicts can arise between managers and employees, or between employees. They can also arise between people who have responsibilities that overlap, such as a manager and co-worker with the same department who have responsibilities that affect how they approach certain issues.
Conflicts between managers – Conflicts between managers can happen when they have different ways of approaching a situation. They can also arise when managers and supervisors have a clash of values. Conflicts between employees and managers – Sometimes conflicts between employees and managers happen when employees don’t feel respected or valued by their managers. These types of conflicts can also occur when managers and supervisors have a clash of values.
Three Ways To Prevent Conflicts In workplace Grow Bigger
The first step is recognizing that conflict is inevitable in any working environment and accepting that without conflict there would be no opportunity for growth or improvement. The second step is actively identifying the types of conflicts that can arise in your workplace, and implementing prevention strategies as much as possible to stave them off before they grow into bigger problems. And the third step? Implementing those prevention strategies as soon as possible so you don’t find yourself in an awkward position once the conflicts inevitably arise.
Build a Support Network for Employees Who Are Vulnerable to Conflict
When you create an environment where people feel safe and supported, they are more likely to open up and accept support from others who have gone through similar situations. One way to facilitate this is to create a network of people who can support each other in times of need. For example, in your HR department there should be a designated person or team who handles employee assistance programs, or EAPs. EAPs are designed to help employees who might be experiencing a variety of problems, including mental health issues and substance abuse issues. EAPs often have counsellors and other support staff who can help resolve issues that arise in the workplace by connecting employees with resources outside of the workplace. As your company grows, you may have to add additional EAPs to cover different areas of need. For example, if your company has a lot of remote workers, you may want to add an EAP that deals with remote stress-relief programs. If you have a particular demographic in your company, such as a lot of female employees, you may want to add an EAP that deals with sexual and gender issues.
Utilize Mediation as an Option When Conflict Seems Imminent
If you’ve carefully considered the types of conflicts that can occur in the workplace, and how your company culture can influence those conflicts, you may find that mediation is a better option than conflict. Whereas conflict is about two people experiencing a disagreement, mediation is two people sitting down together to find a solution. It is an alternative to resolving conflict through litigation, which is often times a very long, expensive, and drawn-out process. The key to successfully utilizing mediation as a conflict resolution option is to research a variety of options. Some of the things you should look at are the cost associated with litigation, the time involved, and the outcome.
Conflict can be a difficult thing to navigate in the workplace. However, with the right strategies, you can prevent conflict from entering your workplace and navigate it when it does come up. With the right prevention strategies, you can keep conflict levels low and productive, avoiding damage to productivity and morale. With these tips in mind, you can prevent conflict from entering your workplace and navigate it when it does come up.