5 Top Ways to Better Manage Conflict Between Employees

5 Top Ways to Better Manage Conflict Between Employees

Employee conflict can put barriers to smooth operations within the organization. It may hinder the free flow of information and limit productivity among the employees who are involved in a conflict. Therefore, as a leader, it is important to learn and incorporate important conflict resolution techniques to help your team achieve your company goals. In this article, you will find some of the best practices used by companies to help you effectively manage a conflict between employees.

Create Avenues of Communication

When conflict arises between employees, communication is necessary to resolve the problem. However, many companies don’t have policies in place to help employees create the necessary dialogue for resolution. Ideally, employees would be able to settle a conflict between themselves without mediation. However, you need to make sure they are aware of the option to take their concerns to an overseeing manager or team lead when they need that mediation. From there, they should know how to properly escalate their concerns to the next overseeing manager, to HR, and so on. Without these official avenues of communication, many employees can take to social media to vent their frustration or else bottle it up and allow it to affect work performance long term.

Train Your Employees in Resolution Techniques

Again, the ideal is that your employees can calmly and professionally resolve problems between themselves. Ensure that they receive conflict resolution training and make it a mandatory training session for each and everyone within the organization. With the proper training, minor issues that otherwise could create major rifts in your team can be professionally and quickly resolved as employees learn to better communicate with one another, address misunderstandings, and identify potential conflict points before they occur so they can be prevented.

Create an Understanding of Office Etiquette

One major point of a conflict that often comes up in the office is what is and isn’t considered acceptable in the workplace. Issues such as sexual harassment are just the tip of the iceberg in this area, as more nuanced concerns such as acceptable dress code, use of perfumes and colognes, personal area decorations, use of the office fridge, and acceptable language are often points of disagreement between coworkers. To avoid these sorts of conflicts, make sure that your policies in regards to these nuanced areas are thorough and clearly communicated so that there is no confusion as to what is and isn’t allowed. That way, these conflicts are quickly managed by a simple statement of “this is allowed” or “this isn’t allowed.” Be prepared as well to have a process to change these rules should that become necessary.

Create a Contingency Plan

What happens when there is a conflict that cannot be resolved, but neither party is at fault? Two good coworkers that absolutely cannot work together shouldn’t force you to choose a favorite and lose the other. Plan in advance for these issues by having options for employees to work away from the one they have a conflict with, or at different shifts. See if work from home is an option for those who have trouble working with others but still are essential to your company. If you aren’t able to do this, you could lose some valuable talent to conflict.

Company Culture

Another major way to prevent conflict is to encourage a sense of comradery and goodwill between employees. That means having a healthy company culture where employees are encouraged to cooperate and listen rather than compete against one another. When an employee is excelling above the others, let them teach their tricks to the others rather than seek to elevate that person above their peers. When pride and ambition collide in the workplace, you are setting up a breeding ground for conflict. However, when teamwork and equality are encouraged, employees are much more able to treat one another with respect and consideration. You can encourage this healthy mindset by setting team goals for everyone to work towards together, encouraging high-performing employees to help the lower-performers with their workload, having get-to-know-you sessions, and creating opportunities for coworkers to bond outside of the workplace through company-sponsored activities.

Conflict resolution will help promote a favorable business environment where employees can work together and foster healthy relationships. This can also attract talent from all over because everyone wants to work in a peaceful and productive environment. When your company is functioning in a healthy way, with socially mindful employees that work together, you will find an increase in productivity, job satisfaction, and a decrease in a conflict that could cause you to lose valuable talent.

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