Conflict is a normal but sometimes frustrating part of life that can occur in any professional or personal relationship. We are often taught to avoid conflict, even to the extent of letting it build up and explode.
However, this can hurt relationships, causing us to potentially miss out on moments where we can better understand and connect with one another, and it can ultimately hurt your business.
When conflict is managed properly, it can be used to strengthen connections within your team and lead to more innovation and growth. Here are five ways to promote healthy conflict resolution in the workplace.
1. Do Not Ignore Conflict
Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. If it isn’t dealt with appropriately, it can eat away at your team’s morale and productivity. No one wants to work in a tense or hostile environment. If left unmanaged, your highest performing employees may end up leaving your company to work in a better environment.
When natural conflict arises, seek out the source and intervene before it has an opportunity to progress. Identifying when there is tension between team members and resolving it quickly and fairly can prevent bigger issues in the future.
2. Learn About Personality Types
Your team is made up of individuals with different personalities, knowledge, and skill sets. They are a big part of what makes your business flourish. Because they are all individuals, it is normal if not everyone gets along all the time.
Using DISC profiling can help to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and behavioural styles, which will help you learn how to bring them together to form a more cohesive team. Here are examples of what DISC Flow® training solutions can do to improve your business.
3. Listen to Both Sides
You cannot resolve conflict if you only get one side of the story. It is important to have a conversation with everyone involved individually, so they have an opportunity to explain their experiences, and then bring them together for a group discussion.
When speaking with your team, make sure you display emotional intelligence. Actively listen, show empathy and be sure to ask them relevant questions in a non-accusatory manner. This will help you get to the core of the conflict without further fanning the flames.
4. Determine if the Conflict Is Necessary
Conflict can be healthy, but sometimes it is simply destructive. You have to know the difference to figure out how to approach the situation.
Healthy conflict can be when your team expresses their differences in opinions and thoughts—without being put down or bullied for disagreeing. Having debates where your team can brainstorm new ideas and different ways to approach problems can be useful and boost productivity.
When communicating, the focus shouldn’t be on who is right or wrong, it should be on understanding the other person’s point of view and perspective, so that a common ground can be established, and concerns can be sorted out.
Destructive conflict happens when the focus is to assert power or superiority over another employee. An employee may be overly aggressive and they might talk over others, put them down with negative statements, or unfairly point fingers and blame them for problems.
When such behaviour is repeatedly displayed over time, this can be considered workplace bullying. If left unchecked, this can cause tension, resentment, and increased turnover.
5. Create and Maintain a Healthy Environment
Some workplace behaviours can increase the occurrence of damaging conflict, causing higher rates of employee turnover, and even legal troubles for you if they are not dealt with promptly.
Sexual harassment is a common problem, with up to 38% of women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace according to this study. Keeping up with sexual harassment training requirements in your state is important to provide a safe and comfortable environment for everyone.
Other forms of harassment include racial harassment, sexual orientation or gender identity harassment, and disability harassment. Your team cannot function at their best and give your business results when these behaviours are present, so it is wise to look for them and deal with them promptly.
Managing conflict in the workplace can be difficult, but it is necessary to ensure your team can establish better connections with each other, achieve their goals, and drive the results your business needs.
These tips will help you make sure conflict is handled quickly and efficiently, and that it is resolved in a positive and professional manner that will benefit everyone involved. Solving problems early
By viewing conflict as a normal feature of your business and encouraging healthy conflict, you can prevent toxic disagreements that can prohibit your business, and your team, from reaching important milestones.