During the course of a work day, tensions can get high, patience can wear thin, and situations can erupt into conflict. Oftentimes, a workplace conflict is best handled by an objective third party that can point out the pros and cons of both sides of a disagreement. If conflict is not addressed immediately, it can become a source of division among employees and greatly affect productivity. It is important to understand how to resolve conflict in the workplace as it is not always beneficial to allow people to display their frustration in the form of physical aggression. Develop a set of conflict resolution activities in the workplace that can get employees back on track and productive.
A good way to resolve a conflict is to separate the conflicting parties through the use of a conference table, and then have someone from management mediate the dispute. This helps in two important ways. First, the parties are able to voice their opinions without being so close to each other that they can escalate their disagreement even further. Second, a member of management that has authority over both parties can command respect and force the parties to accept a resolution that is beneficial to the company.
This activity may not be easy at first but, when it is done properly, it can be very effective. Have the opposing parties reverse roles and take on the job responsibilities of each other. Allow them to read each job description, and then instruct them to think along the lines of meeting that job criteria. It is important to have the managers of both parties present so that they can explain what is expected of each other. This will help the disputing parties see things from the other side and can help calm an argument.
A conflict can often arise when two parties with opposing views find it difficult to understand the other point of view. For example, if a shipping manager has a difficult time understanding why the production manager can not make product fast enough then a conflict can arise when it comes to satisfying orders. In this example, have the executive in charge of shipping speak to the production manager and the executive in charge of production speak to the shipping manager. It then may be easier for the two managers to see the problem and then address it without conflict.
- conflict image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com