Handling Conflict in the Workplace
Small Business

Tips for Effectively Handling Conflict in the Workplace

How can you handle workplace conflict?

Interpersonal conflicts can be a natural form of workplace interaction. It’s rarely avoidable when bringing employees of different backgrounds and work styles into one shared environment. While you might not be able to avoid conflict altogether, there are several things you can do for effectively handling conflict in the workplace. 

In an ideal corporate world, all employees would work together harmoniously without strife or issues. However, as most employers know, that’s rarely the case. 

Sometimes, workplace conflicts can be so serious and complex that solving them is beyond your scope of expertise. In such cases, it’s worth hiring the best business lawyers to take the lead. Business lawyers are experts in dispute resolution and litigation, handling everything from consumer disputes to commercial and corporate disputes and everything in between. 

If you can’t solve a conflict with sound reason and logic, hiring a business lawyer can sometimes be the next best step in handling conflict in the workplace. 

Get to the Source of the Conflict

Integral to conflict resolution is identifying the source of the conflict. Make time to speak to each employee involved to hear all sides. Be sure you obtain a balanced understanding of what the genuine issue is. 

Ask as many questions as possible to understand the issue fully. This can put you in a strong position to work on conflict resolution and put the case to bed once and for all. 

Use Active Listening

One of the best tips to handling conflict in the workplace is to use active listening. In a bid to resolve workplace conflicts quickly, some leaders use their authority to demand a resolution. Unfortunately, this can have the opposite effect. Instead of resolving the problem, it can cause employees to drop their attempts at dispute resolution while leaving the issue seething under the surface. 

Shutting down a conflict isn’t a form of resolution. So instead of pushing for quick fixes, use active listening to truly understand what’s going on. Active listening involves entering discussions with your employees and paraphrasing what they’re saying so they can see you’re listening. Use positive body language like nodding so they can see that you care in what they say. Doing this can help you engage employees in productive discussions that lead to reasonable solutions. 

Identify Agreements and Disagreements

When handling conflict in the workplace, it is important to understand the cause of the problem. There are two sides to every story, and this can greatly contribute to interpersonal conflicts in the first place. Sit down with the employees involved and identify the parts of the problem they agree and disagree on. 

For example, if two employees are involved in a conflict about one employee not performing a specific task when they should have, both parties may disagree about that being the case. However, they might agree that the job wasn’t completed. 

Once you’ve identified the point both parties can agree on, you can use that to devise a solution. The solution might be to outsource that job to a third party. Alternatively, you could have the employees agree to perform the task by a set time or day. 

Devise a Permanent Solution

Some conflicts begin as nothing more than misunderstandings and you can resolve these with minimal effort. However, when personalities clash and issues continue to arise, you may need a more permanent solution to prevent those conflicts from reoccurring. 

Brainstorm different options and present them to all involved to see which ones they prefer. For example, if two employees work together and can’t maintain professionalism, you might decide to split them up or change their shifts. 

Handling conflict in the workplace can be complicated. Having the tools and skills for conflict resolution is crucial for a harmonious work environment. Try some of the techniques above, and you should notice a marked improvement in how your team works together. 

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