Conflict at workplace is unavoidable. As a leader, you should show the ability to identify conflicts and come up with a resolution strategy. Here are six ways to deal with conflicts at workplace.
Define an Acceptable Behavior
You must have a definition of what constitutes an acceptable behavior within the organization. Come up with a framework for making decisions and a delegation of authority statements to help avoid conflicts. Clearly and publicly make it known to workers that actions related to conflicts won’t be tolerated in the organization. Some measures such as team building, talent management training and leadership development will also help prevent conflicts.
Approach Conflicts Directly
Do not avoid conflicts or assume them. Instead, face them fearlessly and show the employees that you are willing to sit down and find solutions. Look for areas of potential conflict and intervene proactively. Check for signs of tensions among the workers or departments. Approach the conflicts in a just and decisive fashion to prevent matters from getting out of hand. Doing this will most likely prevent other conflicts from arising. You will also be in a better position to deal quickly with new conflicts.
Take your time and listen to what the conflicting parties say. Do not react until you get the facts from both sides. Avoid interrupting the other person and ask questions to clarify the information you receive. In case the stories are long, try to rephrase them to make sure you grasp everything. You can also ask the person telling the story to slow down to enable you to digest it in bits.
Find Common Areas of Agreement
You need to acknowledge that there is a conflict between two or more employees. Once you accept the situation, find common areas of agreement. Bring both parties together and let them commit to finding a solution to the problem. Agree on the resolution procedures to give both parties an experience of success.
You should embrace emotional intelligence in times of conflict. Emotional outbursts only stop the conflict temporarily. The odds are that the problem will resurface sooner than you expect. The best approach is to avoid coercion and intimidation. Instead, be calm and approach the issue with rationale. If you are unable to resolve the conflict on your own, ask a mediator for help. The mediator can be a manager from another department, HR assistant, business coach or co-worker.
View the Conflict as an Opportunity
A conflict gives you an opportunity to learn new things. Disagreements based on divergent ideas can bring a lot of development if handled properly. Both parties learn how to manage and prevent future conflicts. They also learn how to embrace each other and work together towards a common goal.