As an executive, you’ve certainly experienced conflict in your workplace. But, do you realize the full extent of the problem when there is one?
Workplace conflict is often minimized by blaming communication or personality differences. And, while those are important issues to address, the origin of the conflict often runs much deeper.
As a manager, do you understand how to identify the type of conflict that has the potential to cripple your business? Are you even aware of all the problems in your workplace that arise from conflict? Perhaps most importantly, do you know how to work with the parties involved to resolve the conflict?
Executives are often ill-equipped to deal with conflict. After all, your specialty is the business end of your company – that is, running the business. So, it’s understandable if you’re not even sure how to work with the parties involved when conflict arises. Executives rarely study psychology in college.
Managers spend anywhere from 15% to 35% of their time managing conflict. Moreover, a report by CPP illustrates that 85% of employees say they’ve experienced conflict in the workplace, spending upwards of three hours a week in workplace conflict. This amounts to nearly $359 billion in wages in a single year.
These numbers only account for what is reported. Think about what isn’t reported. Obviously, the number is likely much higher. One can’t discount the fact that conflict is also observed by the parties who aren’t directly involved.
Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. So, how do you deal with it? Traditional corporate strategy isn’t the answer. Conflict resolutions are better derived from an understanding of the individual personalities at play in your company culture. People dynamics may be a symptom of the real underlying problem. Internal dynamics are often bigger factors.
Why Does Corporate Conflict Happen?
Simply stated, it’s part of the human condition. Every individual has a different psychological makeup with varying values, personalities, and expectations. Conflict often arises as a much smaller issue that’s blown out of proportion.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of compromise and active listening skills, these issues can create long-lasting disputes and conflicts that can cost your company more time and money than you’d like.
Entrepreneur points out that workplace conflict leads to poor morale and loss of productivity among employees. Conflict is a normal, everyday part of life. But when dealt with in a skilled manner, it’s easier to move past it. If conflict isn’t dealt with in the workplace, it could result in a toxic work environment, loss of employees and business, and even litigation.
The right conflict resolution strategies can help your organization resolve the disputes and conflicts that have the potential to disrupt your workforce.
What are the Best Conflict Resolution Skills, Strategies, and Techniques?
Conflict is often the result of poor communication within your workplace. One often misinterprets the actions, intentions, and expectations of another. When you acknowledge conflict and deal with it, it can actually help to improve the processes and dynamics at play within your organization.
Your leadership should offer a safe haven for employees to communicate their grievances. This can help build a trusting environment that can lead your team to a resolution.
When addressing conflict in your workplace, you need to implement key strategies and techniques in a skilled manner to effectively arbitrate any dispute that arises.
Some of these include:
- Empathy. An empathic nature can help you understand your employees’ viewpoints. While this comes naturally to some people, it can be a learned behavior for others. Empathy cultivates a trusting relationship within your company culture.
- Recognize the problem.
- Commit to resolving that problem.
- Understand the feelings of all those involved in the problem.
- Emotional Intelligence. An emotionally intelligent person understands how to meet the needs of others as well as their own. This involves a few core skills:
- The ability to establish rules that allow for respectful, productive talks.
- The ability to come to a resolution when problems arise.
- The ability to foster change.
- Excellent Communication Skills. Communication skills cover a wide spectrum of emotional prowess. These skills are the cornerstone of the type of mastery needed to facilitate positive communication within your organization.
- Communication must be clearly defined and not presumptive.
- Trust is accomplished by actively listening. Avoid interrupting.
- Negotiation skills are vital.
- Improve Your Hiring Process. This is often the first line of defense against workplace conflict. Look for the following attributes when hiring:
- Employees who match your company culture and are willing to learn from their mistakes.
- Employees who are willing to compromise.
- Employees who collaborate well with others.
- Have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.
- Problem-Solving Skills. Once the issues are identified, it’s easier to solve the problems at hand. As a leader, you’re ultimately responsible for resolving the conflicts in your workplace.
- Meet with all parties involved to find a solution.
- Encourage a collaborative problem-solving approach.
- Find common goals from which to form a framework for working as a team.
- Discipline employees who refuse to compromise or insist on conflict.
- Build a personality profile using commonalities of employees who have a collaborative mindset versus those who disrupt your workforce. Use the knowledge you’ve gained to know what to look for when hiring others in the future.
A final note about addressing conflict in the workplace: Remember that conflict can be a healthy tool when dealt with properly. While conflict has the potential to result in negative dynamics, it can transform your workplace into a better work culture when you implement the right strategies. Once resolutions are found, it’s also important to find key takeaways to avoid future conflict.
Conflict Resolution in the Workplace is Possible
No doubt, conflict in the workplace absorbs many valuable resources and can greatly interfere with the day-to-day operations of your enterprise. A commitment to delving deep and getting to the root of the problem can greatly improve the conflict resolution process.
Resolution by a third party is often necessary to bring a cohesive solution to workplace conflict. Stanislaw Consulting can help get to the root of the problem and lead your workplace to a permanent resolution. We’re experts at leading others to a mutually beneficial compromise. Our guidance can help foster effective communication and improve company culture for your organization. Conflict resolution in your workplace is possible.