Workplace conflicts are ultimately unavoidable, even in the friendliest offices. This is because any time people are truly committed to an idea or passionate about their work, conflict and disagreement are inevitable. Many conflicts are actually a sign of a healthy and thriving workplace, but all the same it’s important to be able to resolve those conflicts amiably. Read on for a look at six ways that you can resolve conflicts in the office, and how you can find a resolution for even the toughest situations.
Don’t Avoid the Problem
Many businesses make the mistake of hoping that internal conflicts will simply disappear. After all, conflicts in the workplace occur all the time, and we’re all adults. But ignoring a problem between employees can exacerbate the issue, leading to a much more severe problem in the future. Be sure to take initiative by managing office conflict head on.
Investigate the Conflict
The first step to resolving any conflict is to determine why it exists in the first place. Is it the result of an argument that’s been around the office for a while? Is there a problem understanding specific directions? Are certain personal issues being brought into work? The moment you know the real source of the conflict it becomes much easier to resolve the problem.
Create Clarity in Objectives
One of the easiest ways to reduce conflict in any setting is to underscore a common set of agreements between the parties. In an office setting, your employees should be in agreement about some common goals. No matter if the conflict results from differences of opinion, methodology, or simple personality clashes, getting everyone to accept a common position, such as the desire to achieve company goals, it’s that much easier to find a resolution.
Meet and Talk
Small business owners and managers are often forced to assume the responsibility of leadership in managing conflict. This means taking on the role of both arbitrator and diplomat in order to try and get all interested parties to discuss what problems exist and how they can be solved.
To have a successful mediation, it’s important that you avoid taking sides, encourage everyone to clear the air, and pursue a range of positive resolutions. Once you’ve heard everything that’s been said, you can offer several suggestions to resolve the issue. If it’s not possible to be an impartial judge, it might be a good idea to bring in a third-party to ensure everyone feels fairly treated.
Successful businesses thrive when every part of their organization works together efficiently. Any time you’re acting as an arbitrator over a conflict, it’s important to establish an expectation for everyone at the table to make a serious commitment to resolve the problem. By getting everyone to make this agreement, you also commit them to accepting the outcome, preparing everyone to move forward from the experience.
Separate Conflicting Parties
When all else has failed, you can try to separate the people having the disagreement to limit the opportunity for conflicts to occur. Simply allowing feuding individuals to work together in separate locations is a subpar solution that ignores the underlying problem. However, if necessary, separating conflicting parties can help restore harmony to your business in the short term.