Workplace conflicts can slow down your progress. Whether you are a team member or the leader of the herd i.e. the manager, you need to find out some way to keep conflicts away from the team. And, focus single mindedly towards success.
So what is it that you are doing for conflict management? What can you do to get on the right track?
I’m going to share some of my personal experiences that can help you avoid those conflicts -
“Don’t let communication become a barrier between you and your team. Start communicating online and move towards success with ProofHub.”
- Set expectations
Each place has a different working style. For someone coming into the team, who does not know what’s expected out of his/her service, conflicts are bound to arise. Whether you talk in terms of team behavior, work ethics, punctuality or any other work related trait, you need to set expectations. If someone doesn’t know the code of conduct, how do you expect them to deliver what you want from them? As a manager it is your responsibility to ensure that every team member knows what you expect from them.
This is not only for the newbies in the team. If you want the team to improve on working style and productivity, then you need to first define standards. Let everyone in the team know about those standards so that whenever they fail to deliver, they realize it. This can be one of the best ways to eliminate performance related conflicts at work!
How to do it?
Create a certain set of guidelines that need be followed — a code of conduct for team behavior, and performance expectations from each team. Document them and float it within the team. Or, give them a printout so that they can keep it right in front of their eyes!
- Get rid of the communication barrier
Conflicts arise in a team more often than not because of the communication barrier. It is commonly observed that managers are the decision makers. But, they don’t like getting interrupted in their decisions. Nor do they pay heed to discussing with team members before taking the decision. And, this pushes the team members away. They are not confident about the strategy employed by the manager.
Although they have difference in opinions, but because of the communication barriers they don’t voice it out. That’s when they start to lose confidence in the manager and start to work just for the heck of it. This is when the alarm bells start to ring. As a manager you cannot afford that to happen. You need to take the team together in everything.
How to do it?
Discuss with the entire team as soon as a new project is assigned. Let them be part of the decision making process. Speak, but listen to their opinions as well. Encourage them to come up with ideas and give them credit for any innovative thought they come up with. Everyone loves being appreciated. So, let them know that their voice is heard.
- Respect the differences in opinions
When you are working in close kinship with team, you can expect to work with people from different technical backgrounds. Each member is going to have an opinion of his/her own; they are bound to look at things from their perspective. As a manager you need to respect the fact that each individual is different.
So whenever they have something to say about a particular task, rather than just neglecting them pay heed to what they are saying. What they say might not be in agreement with your decision, but remember they are the subject matter experts. They are technically sound at their job, that’s why they have been handed the responsibility. Respect their opinion, think about it and see what they are trying to say. Who knows their opinion might be ultimately good for the project?
How to do it?
The best way to respect the opinion of other people is to inculcate the habit of listening. Be a good listener. Don’t disapprove what others are saying just because they don’t agree with you. Talk to them, discuss about what they have to say in detail and see where the things end up.
- Taking positives out from conflicts
Learning never stops in life. Successful people are the ones who learn even from the most unexpected circumstance. A situation like a conflict in thoughts between you and the team is the biggest opportunity for you to learn something new. Because that’s the time when others are contradicting what you say. Getting to know how others perceive things can help you innovate. Who knows the other person might be talking from a perspective which you never even thought of? And, that’s when you start to explore the horizons which you would otherwise have never thought of.
How to do it?
The best way to learn from even the worst circumstance in life is to keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Don’t take the conflicts in opinions personally, or in anger. Because anger deteriorates our ability to think and we are not able to focus on the important things that we can learn from the situation.
- Pick your battles
All things being said there is no doubt about the fact that conflicts will continue to rise at work. But, it is for you to decide which battles are worth fighting for. As they say the alpha male is always willing to walk away. As a manager, when you know that the battle is not worth fighting for simply let it pass. On the other hand, if you know that leaving the conflict unattended right now can have dire consequences later in the project then fight for it.
You need to remember not all battles are worth fighting for. Be a good judge of which ones to fight and which ones to miss.
How to do it?
Be a team player. Don’t take professional conflicts to personal level. Practicing things like mindfulness and meditation can get you to a state of inner peace where you are better able to connect with others and calm your temper down.
Conflicts at workplace can make or break a business. If you are looking to avoid conflicts, then these tips are definitely going to help. Implement them in your life, and if they work for you then don’t forget to share your story with us!
Vartika Kashyap is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She currently runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.
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