Conflict is unavoidable whenever there is a group of people working together. Miscommunication, unmet or unclear expectations, poor attitudes, and stress are common reasons issues arise. Expecting it and knowing what to do beforehand can mean a quick resolution and therefore happier, more effective employees. Instead of allowing a situation to fester, handle conflict in the workplace head-on with these tips in mind.
How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace:
1. Don’t Make Assumptions
Never make assumptions or act without hearing both sides of the story. Whether dealing with employees in an argument or facing an employee not meeting standards, having a conversation with those involved will give greater understanding to the real issue at hand.
2. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify
Conflict in the workplace often starts because of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Employees may need clarification on expected duties. A busy environment often means rushed explanations and employees taking on tasks that might not regularly be their responsibility.
A lack of emotional control only exemplifies the issue. Screaming, belittling, jumping to conclusions, and misplaced anger cause bitterness and does not solve the original problem. Situations can quickly escalate leading to a poor outcome. Instead, build employee trust and respect by patiently working through it.
4. Be Firm
While patience is key to finding a resolution, being passive is not. Allowing problems to continue without taking proper action fuels a poor work environment and everyone, including the business, suffers. A leader needs to make tough decisions that will not always please everyone, especially when it comes to handling behavior that repeatedly is in breach of company policy.
5. Check the Attitude
Facing any situation with a pleasant attitude will encourage those around you. Keeping a positive mindset boosts the morale of the group and creates a calm atmosphere. Customers can sense tension and see through fake smiles, making them feel uneasy.
6. Positive Reinforcement
High standards require diligence and thoroughness. Strive for perfection, teach nothing less, but avoid criticism when possible. Correction is received more willingly when delivered in a positive way. Focus on what has been done correctly as an example for others to follow.
Being present and mindful of what is taking place daily can help eliminate ongoing issues. Implementing a strategy for conflict control is never pleasant but is necessary and a sign of good management.
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Manny Skevofilax is a consultant and speaker that helps his clients successfully navigate the challenges of growing their businesses profitably. Since 2003, Manny helps businesses enhance their results by using his experience in strategic planning, financial statement analysis, operations, organizational development, and team-building. His consulting firm, PORTAL CFO Consulting, Inc., has attracted clients from diverse industries in the United States and abroad.
Manny can be reached at 410-808-3441 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.