Many employees today crave leadership roles. But while these roles have many advantages, such as the power and autonomy they give you, there are also many challenges presented to those in leadership roles. One is dealing with and resolving conflict in the workplace. Many managers are not equipped with the right skills to deal effectively with clashes between employees. As a result, their business suffers, with effects such as decreased productivity and increased employee absenteeism. In the end, if managers don’t deal with conflict effectively, they lose employees along with profits. Here are some helpful suggestions for managers on dealing with conflict in the workplace:
1) Don’t fake it until you make it
Unfortunately, for the most part if conflict is not handled in a correct and timely fashion, it never goes away and usually gets worse. Often, avoiding conflict resolution leads to current problems escalating into other issues, internal discord among employees and the development of a fake and dishonest work environment. Furthermore, managers that wait too long to face dealing with conflict in the workplace risk other employees around them taking action first. As a result, managers lose their effectiveness as a leader. So once you notice a conflict taking place in the workplace, deal with it as quickly as possible.
2) Use Discretion with Timing
Of course, not hesitating to deal with conflict in the workplace doesn’t mean managers should intervene when tensions are at their highest and employees are not in the right state of mind to participate in finding a solution to end the conflict. It’s best to let things cool down a bit, and gather the facts of what happened from all parties separately. Don’t take action until you are sure you have right version of what happened. Then you can proceed to deal with conflicts by meeting with all employees involved together and coming to a solution.
3) Be Proactive
By dealing with past conflict in the workplace, managers are in a better position to prevent future conflicts. When managers deal with conflicts, they should take note of the factors that played into it, and remove the source of conflict. Also, look for any other areas of potential conflict within your company and take necessary action to create harmony. Make efforts to build positive relationships among your employees, and become aware of what is going in within every department so you can see ahead of time if the interests of two different departments seem to be colliding.
4) Use Positive Reinforcement
Identify certain behaviors, such as bullying or sexual harassment, which are prohibited in the workplace, and make sure employees are fully aware. Continue to reinforce policies against this behavior, and find ways to motivate employees in a positive way. Dealing with conflict in the workplace is much easier for managers if their employees are aware of the benefits they receive from getting along with their peers and superiors. When you see good examples of teamwork among your employees, reward them with something such as lunch or a paid day off. Make sure your employees are satisfied with their compensation and benefits overall as well.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.