Conflict among people is inevitable. While conflict at work can be managed by improving hiring choices and taking a proactive approach to communication, even the best teams will occasionally “butt heads” over an important issue. Often, these conflicts point to a potential future problem, making conflict management a powerful way to prevent future crises – if it is carried out effectively.
Here are four ways to manage effectively through workplace conflict:
- Be clear on what counts as “acceptable” behavior. Every manager has heard that communication is key to reducing conflict. By communicating what is and is not acceptable behavior in the workplace, you create clear guidelines for employees to follow. You also free them to work more confidently within these boundaries, since they know where the “lines” are, and they know what to do if they feel someone else has crossed them.
- The best conflict resolution is conflict prevention. Like any problem, conflict between staff members is best when it never begins. Seek out areas of potential conflict and intervene to defuse the situation before strife begins. When you do so, you can actually prevent some conflicts and position yourself to respond quickly if a conflict does flare up.
- When you intervene, ask “WIIFM?” “What’s in it for me?” is the crucial question every participant in a conflict brings to the table. When you take the time to listen and understand the answer as it applies to each participant, you demonstrate fairness and position yourself to identify and take the quickest and most effective route away from unproductive conflict and toward a workable resolution that satisfies all the parties involved.
- Choose the best opportunities. It’s wise to pick your battles when dealing with conflict. Avoiding unnecessary “drama” is a must, but if your help is needed to resolve a conflict, focus on the opportunities it provides to teach, learn, and provide guidance that helps build the team and develop leaders.
At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our recruiters can help you find candidates whose approach to work matches your company’s culture – so your team can minimize conflict and maximize productivity. Contact us today to learn more.