When you work with a group of people day after day, conflict is inevitable. Any employee, no matter how qualified or mature, is not immune. Here are some key strategies on how to deal with conflict in the workplace, in order to create a cohesive environment that is conducive to productivity.
Embrace the situation at hand.
At all costs, do not avoid a conflict when it arises or pretend like nothing has happened. When a negative situation is ignored, tension starts to build and the conflict will only get worse. To best tackle the conflict, deal with it as soon as emotions have calmed down, before problems and bad feelings become embedded in everyday work.
Active listening skills is a soft skill held in high regard by employers. It focuses your attention squarely on the person you are interacting with rather than on what you plan to say next. Hear the other person out and be sure not to interrupt them. This way, you are understanding the message he or she intends to send. Rephrase and repeat back what you’ve heard to confirm understanding. Follow up with any clarifying questions if needed. Listening always should be about gaining understanding. Don’t let yourself become reactionary to the other person’s words.
While a conflict arises out of disagreements, keep in mind that agreements are essential to finding a resolution. Because of this, be sure to shed light on commonalities. Share examples or instances in which you understand the other person’s point of view. Looking for these commonalities shows your willingness to seek out common ground and build a better relationship.
When mediating a work conflict, avoid taking sides. You must understand your role and realize you are there simply to help your employees work out their problems.
Help guide the conversation. If things run off course, redirect the topic so your employees return to the real problem. Provide advice on next steps, while highlighting the positive aspects of the process such as goals and growth that will be involved.
Remember, every conflict needs a clear resolution. This is the only way to move past the situation as a stronger unit. By truly trying to understand where the other employee is coming from, and by finding common ground with them, your team can become stronger and more resilient to future issues.