9 Tips for Workplace Conflict Management

January 10, 2017 by  

Organizational conflicts usually arise when there is a disharmony between co-workers or between managers and employees. People often vary in their perceptions of situations; react in different ways and may also espouse differing views due to cultural differences. These differences can cause emotional clashes which may result in conflicts. Conflict does have some positive effects, such as developing new ideas for resolution or learning more about another’s point of view, however, more often it has a negative impact on the welfare of the organization’s workplace environment.

In any organization, it is usually the managers who have the responsibility of handling those conflicts and they need to find creative solutions for doing this.
Here are some factors that managers should keep in mind for successfully resolving a conflict.

1.Address the conflict directly: Effective managers should intervene whenever a conflict comes their way. Unresolved conflict may trigger the growth of more conflict because they rarely go away if ignored and can easily escalate if not addressed soon after it arises.

2. Try to meet concerned people together: In this way you can listen actively to both sides of the conflict and mediate accordingly. You want to appear neutral, fair and consistent in how you deal with any conflict. The manager should also use his/her best persuasive skills to bring both parties to common ground in order to resolve the issue.

3. Encourage both parties to share their perspective & concerns: An effective manager will engage in conversation with both parties, allow them to share their viewpoints and then suggest specific actions, which are acceptable to all concerned. In this way, you can collaboratively explore ways that will result in a win-win situation for everyone.

4. Communicate the message clearly to avoid any misunderstanding: Communication barriers between employees and employers can easily create a wide gap in understanding which can result in miscommunication, confusion, resentment, and disappointment. If not monitored properly, this sort of exchange may lead to mistrust amongst employees. Incorrect or misunderstood information can create fear in the minds of employees. Thus it is important to communicate in a clear, honest, and concise manner so as to minimize any ambiguity which could arise. Basically one must employ active listening and encourage others to do the same.

5. Take a proactive stance whenever possible: Managers must be able to identify any potential conflict which be likely to cause problems and then take any action necessary to ensure that the conflict is diffused as soon as possible. With sound reasoning ability, a manager can attempt to influence both the parties so that they will agree to the terms he/she suggests. Managers must try to create an environment where employees trust the management and are reassured that their interests will be protected and respected.

6. Make sure that employees are accountable: An effective manager should delegate work to the appropriate employees and clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities relative to their job descriptions. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their work and any mistakes that are made.

7. Build cordial, trusting and respectful relationships with employees: The manager should foster a sense of belonging in the team. It is important for the manager to set the tone for his/her team by being positive, upbeat and supportive. The employees need to know that you have their backs in any situation and take responsibility for your work as well. You have to “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk”.

8. Conduct meetings with all employees: Conducting personal meetings increases the transparency for any organizational issues. An effective manager discusses plans for the coming months and shares a status report showing the accomplishments achieved so far. This gives the employees a clear idea of how they fit into the organization’s big picture and why their roles are so key to the achievement of the common goals of the team. When an employee fully understands how they fit into the organization they are motivated to fulfill their part to the best of their ability….a win/win for everyone.

9. You may want to set up an employee “suggestion box”: this can be a powerful tool for collecting “honest” feedback and suggestions from employees.

Conflict and negotiation go hand in hand, so with growing complexity in the business environment, small issues pertaining to employees can often go unnoticed by the top management. If ignored for a long period of time, this may create some conflict. Therefore, again, the onus is upon the manager to diffuse any potential conflict-causing situations by addressing them right at the start.

If you follow these tips you ought to be able to handle any conflict that occurs with your employees and create a positive outcome.

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