Conflict in the workplace is not unusual, but it can be disruptive and counter-productive. In order to maintain order in the workplace, a company needs to engage in conflict resolution strategies before a conflict arises and be able to address a problem when it happens. The best kind of conflict resolution strategies are preemptive and help to create a working atmosphere that is collaborative and productive. When conflict does arrive, a healthy working environment can be a positive influence in bringing the problem to a resolution.
Deadlines can be critical to a company, but sometimes it can become obvious that a conflict will arise if people are not given a break during a tense moment. If a manager senses that a conflict is imminent, give everyone a one-hour break and then speak to the parties who are expressing concerns that could lead to conflict. Sometimes, in a pressure situation, the best way to avoid a counter-productive conflict is to give everyone some space.
An argument can escalate when the two parties want to get their point across without listening to each other. The conflict arises when one issue separates the parties and they cannot get past that one issue. Often, the solution lies in just listening to the complete point each other wants to make and then considering those points as a whole. If a conflict arises, insist the parties hear each other out and see if there is grounds for compromise.
Address the Problem
People sometimes bring personal issues to work with them and in certain situations, those issues can become conflict. When a conflict does happen, a manager needs to focus the conflicting parties on the issue and have them leave out any personal problems they may be having. If someone cannot get past their own personal issues, then they should be removed from the group until they can focus on the problem itself and not their own issues.
A manager can diffuse a conflict by maintaining professionalism. Treat each side of the conflict with respect and a professional tone. Answer all questions in a calm demeanor but with substance. Address an issue when it is brought up, but be calm and insist that everyone else remain calm as well. Eventually, a professional tone will make the arguing parties feel as though they should calm down as well.
- business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com