Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Workplace conflict can be the result of different factors, the most common of which is when someone feels taken advantage of. For instance, the boss demands the same kind of work commitment from its employees, but they are not duly compensated for their service at work.

Conflict may also arise because of disagreements in the values and goals of the company. Being misunderstood and having impossible expectations of what their job position really is are also some possible scenarios for workplace conflict.

Conflict in the workplace is as common and prevalent, and proves to be costly and time-consuming. The consequences of workplace conflict may lead to increased stress among employees, lowered productivity, hindered performance levels, absenteeism, higher turnover rates, and at times, life-threatening violence.

Here are four skills managers can practice to decrease workplace conflict:

Improve communication skills.

This may be how managers communicate and how they teach their employees to communicate with each other. Relationship problems should be made aware and brought up to management for the issue to be confronted and resolved appropriately.

By communicating more, each could owe up to his/her own feelings towards the situation. Active listening involves trying to understand what the other person is saying, and then telling the other person that what they were saying was indeed understood.

Establish healthy boundaries.

Without these boundaries, conflict and constant bickering would always be present in the workplace. Situations would be messier when such power struggles are existing.

One can be professional and empathetic both at the same time towards their co-workers, without putting in too much emotions. When there’s power difference between two people, it won’t hurt much if they won’t cross the line of becoming friends.

Develop emotional intelligence.

There are many facets toward this technique but basically, it allows for people to become more effective by combining both intelligence and emotions in the workplace. Employees should be seen and dealt with as any normal human being with real lives should be treated.

Often times, this aspects is overlooked and only those with high EQ could maintain such boundaries. This also goes the other way around, as managers should also be sensitive as to how their subordinates treat them.

Set-up behavioral consequences.

These may be used with really uncooperative employees, who are not very willing to change. When employees remain non-compliant and uncooperative towards the above mentioned skills, manager must explain the consequences of such actions.

Corresponding actions or sanctions should be given to the employees with such problematic behavior. This can be done in a non-threatening way, while using the three aforementioned skills.

Anger also has its place in the workplace. When one can recognize how he is upset about something and use that to his advantage, this can actually work our for the company. Anger can be a motivator in helping take course of actions.

It’s just about being open about one’s needs and wants in the workplace, and not keep the situation to one’s self until it rages out of control.

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