Conflict in the workplace can be incredibly disruptive. It can harm productivity, make collaboration challenging, and decrease team efficiency. If the situation escalates, the results can be more dramatic. It may lead to the creation of a hostile workforce, hurting retention, or even coming with legal ramifications.
Luckily, there are things managers can do to help resolve conflicts. Here are some tips that can help.
When two coworkers are in the midst of a conflict, talking can make a positive impact. Members of the leadership team should find opportunities to facilitate these discussions. This may include allowing those involved to allocate time to dedicate to the conversation or serving as a mediator during a meeting.
Generalizing rarely leads to a resolution. Instead, it’s important to find out exactly where the issues arose. If you are assisting two employees who are having a conflict, gather specific examples of when the problems occurred. If you are involved, reflect on the situation so you can provide the same kind of information.
As you get the details together, make sure fact-based approaches are used to describe the examples. Make sure all parties avoid attacking the others by not using “you” statements and instead focusing on the events and situations. That way, any conversations aren’t about blame and aren’t personal.
Focus on Listening
Making sure everyone involves is heard is critical in conflict resolution. When each person is expressing their thoughts, make sure to focus on what is being said. Don’t use the time when a person is speaking to decide how you’ll reply and avoid interrupting the others.
Once one person finishes talking, summarize what was said. That way, you can make sure you understand the situation. Additionally, ask clarifying questions if necessary. The goal should be to gain a strong picture of what the problem is, increasing the odds that a solution can be identified.
Identify the Disagreements
After all parties have initially presented their issues, take a moment to identify the points of disagreement. Make sure everyone involved agrees or make modifications until everyone believes the assessment is accurate. Once this process is complete, you’ll have a clear understanding of the conflict.
Create a Plan
With the areas of conflict defined, you can begin to strategize. Examine the disagreement that is having the highest impact and work as a group to craft a plan that leads to a resolution. Have everyone focus on the future as they discuss possible solutions to ensure they are looking beyond the now.
Follow Through and Follow-Up
Once a plan is agreed upon, have everyone involved proceed. Schedule regular follow-up meetings where all parties can get together to assess any progress that’s been made, revise the remainder of the plan, and otherwise continue to work toward a solution.
Keep a collaborative attitude as you move forward, as that will generally yield the best results. Additionally, offer praise for any positive steps, ensuring that the communication channels remain open and everyone stays friendly and professional.
Ultimately, by following the tips above, management can effectively resolve internal conflicts in the workplace. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at Apogee Managed Solutions can help. Contact us to speak with one of our experienced team members today and see how our conflict resolution expertise can benefit you.