Anyone who has had any experience working in a team or office setting knows that occasional conflicts are unavoidable. Whether the conflicts stem from personality differences, ineffective management styles, unfair treatment, ethical ideals or just personal opinions, they will inevitably happen in the workplace. Unfortunately, poorly managed conflicts can grow in size and proportion and can have devastating effects on the productivity and success of a business.
So what can you do to avoid this? The good news is that there are many ways to resolve conflict and even potentially make your employees work better together and develop more respect for each other. With the right understanding and conflict resolution strategies, you can help resolve conflicts amongst your staff without having to worry that it will impact the future of your business or cause strain or tension in the workplace.
Here are a few conflict resolution strategies that you might find helpful:
Many conflicts can stem, directly or indirectly, from one or both parties feeling insulted. Whether you are involved in the conflict or are helping to manage it, try to find a way to compliment the involved parties and the work that they have done. Remember that a compliment goes a long way! It’s likely that the work they are doing is still valuable in some way and they might be more likely to back down or be cooperative if they are given some recognition for their efforts. This is one of the basic tenets of effective leadership – for more tips like this, check out this course on basic leadership skills.
Find Common Ground
Chances are, even in the most heated conflicts, there is some way to find common ground with the person you disagree with or a disagreement amongst your staff. Try to see the bigger picture of the conflict and find ways to circumvent the actual point of conflict to find other things that people might agree upon. Once you’ve found a common ground, it’s usually easier for people to express their differing opinions and arguments without escalating the situation. Whether you’re a leader or a team member, you can benefit from learning basic leadership tools for the workplace.
It’s not uncommon in the workplace to have employers who are competitive with one another, about work or for more personal reasons. While this is inevitable in human relationships, it’s important to separate this competitiveness when it comes to making work decisions (i.e. not to let egos get in the way of making the best decisions for your company). Make sure to focus on the issue that is being addressed and to ask yourself if you are just doing something for the sake of having the better idea or being right or if you truly believe it’s in the best interests of the company. For more advice on working in a competitive environment, try this course: Working with difficult people.
Don’t Be Afraid to Back Down
Employees and leaders alike often have the mistaken assumption that backing down will lead people to lose respect for them. This isn’t true! Knowing when to stand up for yourself and when to back down is a valuable skill that will earn you more respect from your colleagues. They will also tend to follow your example – if you’re willing to back down with dignity for the sake of your companies best interests, others will be more likely to as well. This can help you in situations where you are negotiating a deal, as well – find more tips like this in our course on negotiation skills.
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