Workplace conflict is not something new. In professional life, everyone has to face it some time or another. Though organisations start measures to prevent workplace conflicts for routine work to go smoothly, workplace-related issues happen now and then.
According to a recent survey, workplace bullying has increased from 7.0% to 9.6%. One in ten people has reported bullying at work for extended periods. 23% of survey respondents expressed humiliation in front of other staff members, 22% complained of threats and physical assaults, and 37% being yelled at or sworn before others.
While more women reported unfair treatment or physical assaults or threats, or unwanted sexual advancement, men reported swearing or yelling at the workplace. 62% of the reported cases pointed to their immediate superiors and 28% to their co-workers.
Finding out the source of conflict
In our lives, conflict in the workplace causes discomfort, frustration, anger, and pain at a greater level that disturbs our work efficiency. While employees spend most of their lives at the workplace, it is discouraging to find conflicts in the workplace that range from 70% to 90%.
While working with team members from different cultures, geographical locations, and intellectual quotients, solving problems may also differ. The attitude to understand and respect others’ views must help to resolve workplace conflicts amicably.
The foremost thing to resolve workplace conflict is to trace its source. Then comes understanding in depth the root cause for the problem and taking necessary steps accordingly. Identifying the knot for disagreement may also help to have a healthy discussion with the concerned people.
Talking with your employees in private
The working environment must be conducive to maximum production. When that gets disturbed, conflicts arise and lead to many problems among team members.
Sometimes, the management team may not be able to arrive at a better solution to resolve sensitive workplace-related issues. In that case, take extra time to analyse the issue by meeting team members in private.
Meeting employees individually may help them to understand the part played by the management and help to avoid workplace conflicts. To build a conversation, safe and constructive, you must help people involved to share their issues.
Showing empathy by understanding
Showing empathy towards your team members and listening to their views will help to resolve workplace conflicts with ease.
While resolving workplace conflict issues, it is always important to listen to both sides without partiality.
Kindly spare some time to listen to their arguments and understand the root cause of the conflict. It will help you make a better decision to solve the issue and settle it without bias. Resolving workplace conflict can be an opportunity to identify better ways to handle such issues without affecting the working environment.
Always allow members on either side to have sufficient time to share their views, thoughts, and genuine concerns about the issues. As a listener, you must have an assertive and positive approach towards them as well.
Encouraging them to share their thoughts honestly will pave the way for them to understand how the issue can affect the workplace and the need for a better solution to maintain peace.
Sometimes, you may also not agree with team members who are involved in the conflict. But, it becomes your responsibility to give them also the time to speak and spare time to hear them speak. This unbiased attitude will open space for effective communication from both sides.
Agreeing on the best solution
To manage and resolve workplace conflicts, allow people to listen to what the other person says. Understand their feelings. Gather their thoughts and share them without fail.
For managing and resolving workplace conflicts, let the team members understand that there is only one goal, fulfilling the objectives of the organisation.
Next, let the people involved understand their responsibility in the organisation and agree with the solution arrived at. When they realise you respected them by validating their opinions, they will understand the seriousness of the issue and ensure that it will not happen again.
Hiring workplace investigators
The process for investigation starts immediately when the management receives a written or an oral complaint. Whether an investigation is being conducted externally or internally, collecting facts, pieces of evidence, and procedures for conducting meetings will take extra time.
Hiring workplace investigators will help to investigate without affecting the routine in the organisation. The investigation must adhere to health and safety regulations, confidentiality, policy and legal compliance, and principles for ethical practice. Following these will ensure a fair process in the investigation and help the organisation arrive at the proper solution.
Investigating internally also has some benefits. The investigator organisation may have a good understanding of organisational standards, principles, and work culture. So, implementing recommendations and solutions will also be done quickly.
Evaluating better solutions
Effective communication can resolve any issue in an organisation. Take care to observe day-to-day work issues within your organisation. Be prompt to implement solutions to prevent them from occurring again.
Consistent monitoring will help to control workplace conflicts and take immediate action if they occur again.
Lessons learned through handling workplace conflicts will help to strengthen conflict management skills and avoid conflict at the workplace.
Conflicts are part of our lives. Conflicts can happen anywhere, at any part of the day. Workplace conflict is crucial, for it affects the smooth running of an organisation.
Workplace conflicts not only affect the overall productivity, but they leave an impact on the economic growth of the organisation and its employees as well.
Failure to resolve issues at the right time may affect organisational goals as well. The timely intervention helps employees to be free from stress and also healthy, both mentally and physically.
With twenty-five years of experience as a lawyer, Saranne has seen time and time again, how conflict can tear people apart. This was the catalyst behind studying and practicing mediation. As a result, Segal Conflict Solutions was formed.