- Conflict in the workplace shouldn’t mean the end of the world is near. With enough good will and patience, almost any issue can be solved. Just try to keep an open mind, and be as patient as possible. Try to give your all to make the workplace as positive an environment as possible
By | Audrey Taylor
A successful company is a happy company. We all spend at least 8 hours of every working day at the office. Why, then, should almost a third of our time be filled with conflict and negative energy? Conflict inevitably happens, especially when you spend a great deal of time with the same people, day in, day out. But, if you learn how to mitigate conflict, how to manage it properly, how to control and even prevent it, your company will be much more successful and happy. It will increase morale, and attract both valuable employees and maybe even new business partners. Read on to find out how.
Back and forth communication is key
Talking and listening is probably the most important thing to do. And listening, perhaps, even more important. First, you should always have a time and place set so that people can talk without any hassle or interruptions. This way, it will be much easier to pay attention, for both parties.
Everybody involved should have their own say and their own time. Don’t let one individual take over the conversation. You need to get a fair and even assessment of the situation. Always keep in mind that it is always you against the problem, not you against a co-worker. Furthermore, don’t blame or shame anybody. You will just make an enemy, and deepen the conflict significantly.
Of course, another issue you need to keep in mind is the culture you are in. So, let’s say you lived in the UK all your life, and you founded a company there. And then you decided to open a branch in, for example, Australia. Even though it’s an English speaking country, people are different there, more open, perhaps a bit more relaxed. If you see some conflict springing up, and haven’t spent enough time there to be confident in your mediating skills, you should ask for help. Either contact a local manager or hire professional workplace mediators in Sydney (or wherever you are stationed at). This an even more serious issue if you moved to, let’s say, China or India. Remember, cultures differ, leave your ego at the door, and listen.
Don’t sweep conflict under the rug
Very serious mistake managers make is just ignore conflict that comes up. They hope that with time, things will settle down. This can be a problem since you’re essentially relying on blind luck. Of course, things may simmer down, but, they may also just build up quiet resentment. Be mindful of such things, tackle the problem head-on.
No matter how uncomfortable it is, you need to step up and nip this in the bud. Perhaps all you need to do is help people blow off steam. Or, the problem is more serious, and you need to communicate and take on the leadership position. Don’t take sides, guide the conversation, but don’t control it. If you can, give advice, but don’t be condescending. And don’t feel awkward about it, people will appreciate honesty and bringing out the peace pipe.
Who knows, by actually embracing this conflict, you may actually resolve both past and future issues, all in one fell swoop. You will nurture positive reinforcement, or you will weed out anyone who is too bitter and arrogant to actually be in the company. Making a choice, doing something, will always lead, eventually, to positive results. But if you ignore a problem, it will just stay there and fester.
Focus on forgiveness, forget about ego
Perhaps you’re the one who has been slighted. Or, maybe, you’re the one who hurt somebody else. For both issues, you need to communicate the issue honestly, sincerely, but also tactfully. Explain how to hurt you were, or perhaps, what lead you to your poor decision making. Remember, you need to forgive this person. Don’t nurse any grudges or ill will, it will make both your lives hell. The last thing you need is not standing the person you will spend 8 hours per day with.
Try to find the positive and useful in the situation, get away with positive experiences. If you can, look at the situation from another point of view. Find some common ground and build trust.
Conflict in the workplace shouldn’t mean the end of the world is near. With enough good will and patience, almost any issue can be solved. Just try to keep an open mind, and be as patient as possible. Try to give your all to make the workplace as positive an environment as possible.