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6 Tips for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

6 Tips for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Here is one thing you must understand: Conflict and leadership go hand in hand. Leadership is a broad role, and you shouldn't hold a leadership position if you're unable or unwilling to resolve conflict in a way that benefits everyone. Although you can try to prevent workplace conflict as a leader, the reality is that it is impossible to completely avoid conflict at work as it will find you whether you look for it or not. 

A leader is expected to identify conflicts, comprehend their nature, and propose solutions so that disagreements over ideas (good or bad), miscommunications between coworkers, and other issues are resolved as quickly as possible. Naturally, people will view you as an ineffective leader if you cannot do this. However, conflict rarely resolves itself, and if it isn't handled promptly and carefully, it can escalate quickly. Furthermore, if something is not addressed right away, it is not unusual for something that might have been a minor issue at work to turn into a major one. 

Every workplace is full of intelligent actors who instigate arguments out of emotion to cover their lack of productivity. These are the drama kings and queens that, when confronted about their lack of work or wrongdoing, are quick to point out finger in another direction. These people are experts at disguising their inability to function effectively through emotional outbursts, including shifting responsibility, small lies, half-truths, and other manipulations. Only a leader who fails to spot these behaviours or takes no action to address them can be considered worse than such individuals. Real leaders don't favour their followers, they don't promote office politics or  drama, and they certainly don't put up with deceptive or destructive behaviour. 

Keep reading this article to find out the reasons behind conflict in the workplace and a few tips to solve workplace conflict.

What Factors Create Workplace Conflict

Effective conflict resolution skills are crucial for leaders who want to create long-lasting business models. Unresolved disputes lead to a loss of creativity and productivity and the construction of barriers to cooperation and collaboration. Many people believe that a leader's capacity for conflict resolution is crucial because it will increase employee satisfaction. Leaders who avoid handling conflict in the office will eventually see their top talent leave in search of a safer and healthier setting. 

While I agree that conflict is a natural part of all organizational and social settings, how a leader handles it makes workplace conflicts challenging. Resentment or factional infighting are the only outcomes of ignoring, avoiding, or withdrawing from other people's conflicts in an organization. 

So, what exactly causes conflict at work? There are many possible answers, including power struggles, office politics, self-centred behaviors, pride, jealousy, and many others. While the answer to the previous question will indicate that almost anything will result in conflict, we can still ask ourselves, "What is the root cause of conflicts?" Let's look at and comprehend the two main reasons for workplace conflict. 

  • Lack of Communication

We have all experienced conflicts in our lives. If we reflect on those conflicts over time, we will see many results from inadequate information, inaccurate information, poor information, or no information. All these things result from ego and a person's inability to be humble in front of other people. We must put our pride aside and communicate with everyone around us if we want to be good communicators. The information expressed in a clear, concise, accurate, and timely manner will only lessen the severity of conflicts.  

  • Emotion driven Actions

Allowing emotions to influence decisions in the workplace is a common error that will result in conflicts. We have witnessed workers make rash decisions out of a desire for emotional superiority, putting that need ahead of finishing their work. We have seen employees throw fits of rage and try to dominate the work environment with sudden emotional outbursts. But, if you have, what you saw was someone putting their feelings, pride, and ego before safeguarding their future.

Regardless of what is going on in their personal lives, everyone at work should be careful about what they say and how they present themselves because everyone is there to get the job done.

Tips to Handle Conflict at the Workplace 

After we have an understanding of the reasons why conflicts arise at work, we need to ask the question of how to handle conflicts when they do. If organisations are to operate more effectively and sustainably, disputes must be accepted and dealt with through efficient conflict resolution procedures. Here are a few ways through which you can manage and resolve conflict in the workplace. 

  • Understand and Identify the Source behind the conflict 

Understanding and defining the cause of the conflict enables you to understand how the issue grew in the first place. You can better understand how the issue first arose by understanding the conflict's underlying causes, and to do this, a leader must talk about the needs that have not been met on both sides. A leader should act as a mediator and ensure communication between people. Leaders can avoid needless conflict at work by taking the time to recognise and understand natural tensions. 

  • Find a Secure Place to Resolve Conflicts

If there is a dispute at work, it is the leader's responsibility to clear up any misunderstandings between the workers. You have to make sure that your conversation while resolving issues is constructive, and you need to find a safe environment to talk about it. Conflict resolution in such a safe and secure environment allows you to take the necessary risks for open communication about the matter at hand.

So before you go on and try to resolve any issue, find a safe and private place to talk. Avoid choosing an office location close to other employees, and while fixing the problem, make sure that each party has enough time to express their views.  

  • Listening is the Key

After getting the conflicted employees to meet in a secure and private place, allow each to speak and state their views and perceptions regarding the issue. Adopting a positive and assertive attitude will motivate both parties to express their opinions openly and honestly and comprehend the root of the conflict and find solutions. Give each person equal time to express their thoughts and concerns without favouring others. 

  • Investigate the Situation

Start an investigation once you've given both parties a chance to voice their worries. Do not assume or come up with a final verdict based on your information and dig deeper to find out more about the involved parties, the issues and how individuals feel about the matter. Have a confident, one-on-one conversation with the parties involved and pay close attention to what they are saying so that you can understand it clearly. Ask open-ended questions so the involved individuals can open up and speak their part of the story. Also, try finding any underlying conflict sources that may not be evident or noticeable at first.

  • Determine ways to meet the Common Goal 

When handling any conflict, keep in mind that your main objective is to find a solution and make sure the problem doesn't arise again. To find a solution, you must be aware of the various stages of conflict. Such a strategy will enable you to search for the best solutions to achieve the shared objective. After clarifying the source of conflict, talking to both individuals, and investigating the situation, the leader needs to sit down and discuss the best way to execute to meet the common goal: to manage and resolve the matter at hand. 

  • Come to an Agreement 

Managing and resolving conflict in the workplace will improve communication effectively. When the employees realise that they all have the same objective, achieving the company's goals, all the disputes will seem inconsequential. Thus, both parties must come to a consensus on the best course of action for the problem after investigating the circumstances and identifying potential solutions. You can choose the best course of action by finding common ground and identifying the solutions that each person can accept. It is important to pinpoint the problem's root cause during this phase to ensure that the issue does not repeat itself in the future. 

Conclusion 

Conflicts are integral to our daily lives, where we see ourselves disagreeing with our family, friends, and co-workers. Conflicts left unchecked will lead to doubtfulness and hatred. Managing and resolving conflict at work is integral to meeting organisational goals. In conclusion, conflicts can be fixed with a sincere desire to solve them. If the underlying desire is strong enough, one can develop rapport by compromising, forgiving, demonstrating compassion and empathy, being an active listener, finding a point of agreement, and using various other techniques.