How To Tackle Workplace Conflicts Like A Pro
“A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you’re the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong — that’s healthy.” — Robert Townsend
If you’re anything like me, you’re undoubtedly terrified of disagreement and will go to great lengths to avoid it. I routinely deal with disagreements at work, and over the years, I have realized that avoidance is certainly not an effective way to resolve a conflict.
Conflict is neither good nor evil by definition. Simply put, it refers to a divergence in viewpoint or perspectives.
Workplace conflicts are almost inevitable in every organization. Constructive conflicts at a workplace are essential for enhancing overall productivity in an organization.
Think about it; you always want to be around people that constantly make you go the extra mile. You want to be a part of a culture that continually seeks to challenge the status quo. Hence, constructive conflicts help in increasing productivity rather than hamper it.
However, when conflict has a detrimental influence on a company’s goals, productivity, quality, customer or employee well-being, or employee retention, then it must be addressed.
Let’s look at these effective ways to improve your work performance and resolve conflicts at your workplace.
Find The Root Cause Of Conflict
If you don’t know what’s causing the problem, you won’t be able to solve it. When trying to resolve a workplace conflict, you need to clarify the ultimate source of conflict, which involves acknowledging that a problem exists.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.” Shannon L. Alder
You can set up a one-to-one meeting between the employees to figure out the real cause of disagreement. To make sure that parties are not hesitant to share their disagreement, you should provide a safe and private environment so that they can communicate freely without any interruption.
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You should hear out both sides without any bias and understand their perspective. Your primary purpose should be to get to the root cause of their conflict.
Common Causes of Conflicts at Workplace
- Unmet Expectation
There are times when things do not go as planned, allowing frustration, disappointment and resentment to fester. And that’s normal. When your expectations do not align with the actual circumstances, it may cause conflict between the parties.
For example, conflicts are bound to arise when your expected pay hike doesn’t match your actual hike. It would be best if you focused on maintaining a balance between your expectation and reality so that you don’t end up wasting time agonizing over unfavorable results
- Poor Communication
Poor communication is one of the most critical factors that hamper an organization’s overall growth and productivity. When one party misunderstands or misconstrues the words, it can lead to miscommunication, resulting in conflicts.
- Moral Values
What may seem right to you might seem wrong to the other person and vice versa. Conflicts may arise when people force their beliefs and opinions on other people. The difference in values is a common cause of workplace conflict as the exclusive value system does not embrace divergent values.
Identifying the root cause is essential in resolving a conflict, but it isn’t enough. Once you have figured out the root cause of the conflict, it is vital to find common ground between the parties to help them rebuild their trust.
It helps you manage working relationships and resolve arguments better and in a healthy way. Building trust certainly requires daily commitment and isn’t built overnight.
As a mediator, you should create a new track record between the parties. A track record is a summary of prior encounters between the two parties. Perhaps, making them collaborate on small projects will help them understand each other better.
It would help if you focused on developing a framework to make this collaboration successful and, at the same time, allow the two parties to face the challenges that will arise along the way. It will encourage communication between the two sides and clarify any misunderstandings and otherwise present.
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A direct sync-up between the two parties, as often as feasible, is the ideal method of communication. However, if there is a lack of trust, this may end up being more of a courtesy exercise than anything else, having no use.
Make sure to always keep track of the conversations by seeking frequent updates from both parties and then sharing them with the other. You can certainly add a professional touch to your communication with a team communication platform like ProofHub. With the Birds-eye view of all the tasks, it is considerably easier to keep track of your task progress.
When Things Don’t Work Out
There always remains a possibility that the opposing parties might not reach an agreement. However, it doesn’t imply that either member should be removed from the team or urge them to do so.
It’s entirely okay for the two to work in isolation from each other unless their engagement with the team requires them to work closely together. ProofHub is an ideal tool to help you work independently within a team. It offers a user-friendly interface that makes assigning tasks and sharing files a breeze. You can provide task descriptions, notes, and discussion to share inputs on a particular project.
If the need for collaboration emerges from time to time, you can have someone to mediate between the parties. It might be anyone with solid empathy, even someone from the same side as the persons in dispute. It would help reduce any chance of any possible clashes between the parties.
Lastly, you should try to make sure the animosity between the conflicting parties towards each other doesn’t extend throughout the company, as people tend to pick sides that can cause schism to deepen.
“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.”
To summarize, conflicts in a workplace are almost unavoidable, and you must learn how to deal with them. You do not resolve conflicts by changing people’s behavior towards each other instead of by building healthy relationships based on trust and mutual empathy.
It is imperative to settle the problem before it escalates and becomes unmanageable. I genuinely believe that issues can be resolved if there is a genuine willingness to do so. Therefore, a project management tool like ProofHub could help you reduce workplace friction by centralizing all your projects, processes, people and communication at one place.
When trying to resolve conflict, always remember everyone has qualities that should be lauded in public and flaws that should be addressed privately.
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Follow: Vartika Kashyap to read all the articles
Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others, and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click. Follow her on Linkedin.
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