Workplace conflict is inevitable. Even in a business of one, you may have conflict with vendors, groups you outsource to, or even clients that you work with. At some point, there will be disagreements that need to be managed. And that is the key word, managing your conflict so that it can be overcome.
Conflict may arise over different opinions on how to do tasks or what goals your business may have. Conflict may arise over seemingly arbitrary issues like parking spaces or office supply distribution. Conflict could even be imaginary and perceived when an email is misread or tone is misunderstood. Whatever the source of the conflict may be, it is crucial for leaders in your company to address it quickly, graciously, and efficiently. Here are some ways that conflict can be managed in your workplace today-
1. Find common ground and give it your all.
When bridging connections between two (or more) employees who may be experiencing tension or conflict, it is important to find commonalities between the two before proceeding. Hopefully, those commonalities can be goal and business-related, but they may also spill over into personal life or experiences that they both share. These commonalities must be authentic for both parties to feel a connection with one another. Once this connection is made, both sides should give their best effort to create a solution or steps towards an agreed upon goal.
2. Attitude awareness.
If there are facts that need to be corrected in a conflict, then make those adjustments courteously for the benefit of your company. However, it is much more common for conflicts to contain a lot of opinions and perceptions about the other party involved. Evaluate your frustrations and categorize what is fact and needs attention and what is an opinion and should be put to the side. Then decide what attitude you need to bring to interactions to best serve the goals of your business or role and be aware of your nonverbal communication as well.
3. Recognize that everyone else isn’t wrong.
There can be a single way to accomplish some tasks and goals, but it is more likely that there are multiple ways to achieve steps along the way. Having different viewpoints on how to work through these steps doesn’t have to be a source of conflict. Have conversations about why certain procedures, policies, guidelines, or other checks are in place. Evaluate aspects of your business regularly to make sure things are still running smoothly. And be open to listening to other viewpoints, even if they aren’t going to be implemented.
If conflict is already present when these opposing viewpoints are brought forth, and there is no opportunity or room for change, help provide an easy and gentle way for others to step away from the conflict. Shutting someone down, especially in a group setting, is never an ideal option for conflict management.
4. Go for it!
Working with other humans means the potential for exposing some of our weaknesses and issues that we would rather not have brought to the forefront, but having strong working relationships is worth it. Even if you are not social with everyone in your workplace, it is important to have a functioning team where everyone feels heard and valued as part of the company. Take the first steps to show that differences in opinions do not need to result in conflict and that we can learn to appreciate how these differences can make a team stronger.
Frontline can help bridge some of these connections before your employees and work to give you tips and interventions in managing conflict that may arise. To develop your business and your employees, contact Robert Winter at 832-483-5535 or fill out the contact form on our contact page. Front Line looks forward to leading you and your employees to be closer to accomplishing your goals!