Differing point of views, clash of opposite personalities, varied perceptions — all of this can lead to conflict. And since conflict in the workplace is inevitable, knowing how to handle the situation when dispute occurs is crucial to keep the morale and productivity high.
When workplace conflict is mismanaged, organisations pay a hefty price for it. According to one report, employees in the United States spend 2.8 hours per week on workplace conflict, resulting in $ 359 billion in lost time.
Here is a simple way to resolve workplace conflicts, so none of the team members are left with hurt feelings and bruised egos.
1. Get to the Heart of the Conflict
When you have two employees arguing over something and getting into a heated debate, instead of making assumptions or buying into gossip – get to the heart of the matter.
As a leader, understanding that every conflict has sides is enormously important. So, let both the antagonists come together and present their point of views. Listen carefully to each party’s story to validate their ideas and let them know that they are being heard.
Moreover, try to figure out where the conflict stems from. In case the conflict is a discrimination dispute or arises from workplace harassment, you may escalate to upper management. Otherwise, put the conflict in context to better understand whether the true issue is poor communication, a negative company culture, hierarchy or something else.
2. Respect Differences
It is natural to have your emotions and anxieties heightened when you’re dealing with a conflict. However, to prevent the situation from aggravating, you need to ensure your team understands each other and respects the differing point of views regardless of whether they agree or not.
Conflict resolution is rarely black and white. Ask both the parties to summarise their points of agreement and disagreement and then offer a solution along with their complaint. Persuade them to work towards a common goal while making sure they keep their minds open to others’ opinions and ideas.
3. Acknowledge the Agreed-Upon Solution
Once each party agrees on the best resolution, identify the roadblocks that may be encountered along the way. Being proactive in this regard helps you find solutions ahead of time, so you have plans in place to deal with issues beforehand.
After both sides have acknowledged a win-win situation, they can work together in resolving the conflict.