Conflicts between co-workers are often more challenging to deal with than the work itself. Disputes between colleagues can occur for either professional or personal reasons. Regardless, companies and organizations must put effort into conflict management in order to maintain a positive office or business culture.
With the following five tips in mind, companies can effectively manage disputes to ensure that employees maintain a respectful atmosphere and, of course, business can run as smoothly as possible.
1. Define Acceptable Behavior
Companies can be proactive by defining what acceptable behavior means.1 Although there’s no need to craft an encyclopedic explanation of professional behavior, it helps to build a framework that will allow employees to understand how the company expects them to behave. In addition, companies should also define the consequences of breaches to the acceptable behavior policy. So long as employee behavior falls within the guidelines of acceptable behavior, conflicts can be resolved with positive solutions.
2. Deal with Conflicts Quickly
Allowing conflicts to linger allows them to fester. Good conflict management happens quickly. Managers shouldn’t fear conflict; in fact, they should view these situations as a chance to breed positivity through problem solving. When conflicts arise, consult with all parties involved. Ask them to define the conflict and then provide would-be solutions for dealing with the issue. As a manager, you may be able to reach a compromise.
3. Encourage Communication
When employees work in settings where they feel as though they will be penalized for speaking, unhealthy office cultures result. It’s up to companies to set a tone that establishes that honest and respectful communication is welcome. When the communication lines are open among all employees, conflicts can be addressed out in the open. Moreover, businesses that have outstanding communication tend to have fewer misunderstandings.2
4. Socialize in a Relaxed Environment
Sometimes conflicts can be addressed or warded off in a setting outside of the workplace. Meetings over lunch or in other settings can provide neutral ground for all parties involved. Conflict management doesn’t always have to take place over a desk. Consider alternative places where parties can meet to discuss their issues in a more relaxed environment. Companies that recognize the importance of social activities for their employees tend to build stronger teams and friendlier office settings where people actually enjoy working together.
5. Collaborate on Solutions
Collaboration is an essential skill for the modern workplace. When it comes to conflict management in the workplace, consider inviting teams to develop resolutions for problems. This is especially effective for issues that involve many colleagues at once. Encouraging employees to collaborate is another way to build a strong team defined by mutual respect for one another.
With positive conflict management, businesses can more quickly and effectively deal with those inevitable workplace conflicts as they arise. There is no such place as a conflict-free workplace. Therefore, it’s essential for companies to recognize the importance of crafting strategies for handling conflicts as they occur. Keep these tips in mind the next time a conflict erupts in your business setting.