Conflict is a part of everyday life. There is conflict at home, at work, with friends, and even conflict in nature. The fact that conflict occurs isn’t the issue, but how to go about resolving conflict is what matters most. As a manager, the last thing you want is to have conflict between employees compromising all the positive energy in the workplace, creating a stressful and unproductive work environment.
According to an article on Forbes.com, 50% of employees said they accomplished less when dealing with an office related conflict, and 46% said they thought about quitting. As leaders, it’s important to look for ways to help reduce tensions in the office. Here are five tips to help you avoid conflict in the workplace.
First and foremost, be positive and give your employees feedback. Doing this is simple, quick, and makes your employees feel as though their work is being valued. Being consistent with positive feedback will teach everyone in the office to do the same. One thing to keep in mind as a manager is that you are also a role model. Set an example for your employees and deal with your own conflicts and issues the way you would expect them to.
Work and Humor
Another way you could lighten up the mood in the office is by promoting humor at work, allowing your employees to have a little fun. People spend the majority of their day at work, if it’s all seriousness and no fun, you risk having under-productive employees who most likely won’t last at your company for very long. While our job is our duty, it should also be our passion. Encourage this attitude by starting a meeting off with a fun exercise, harmless funny joke, or sending out a non-offensive humorous e-mail to the whole department.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to promote a positive environment at work, conflicts are bound to arise from time to time. At this point, be aware of what kind of conflict could be brewing. Is it related to someone’s personal space? Could it be over a work related task? Is it a personality clash between two individuals? Knowing what the conflict is about will give you an idea of how to handle the situation. Make your own observations; once you notice a conflict is disrupting the team’s efficiency and morale, you can start taking steps to resolve it.
If you need help solving employee conflict, seek advice from someone who knows, like your company HR department or senior leadership. An outside perspective can be beneficial. Regardless of the steps you take to solve a conflict, you could be faced with an employee who simply refuses to change his or her attitude. This is when you take the initiative to explain the consequences and follow through with them if the situation doesn’t change.
One Step Ahead
To avoid conflict from arising altogether, teach your employees how to go about handling tense situations in general. Explain the importance of using a respectful tone, choosing the right words, and actively listening to what the other person has to say.
You could even host a conflict resolution seminar or find a conflict resolution expert who will come speak to your office and explain the proper way to handle a conflict at work and in life. An informed employee is one step on the path toward a healthy work environment.