Workplace conflict is never pleasant, but it is important to resolve any problems that arise in the workplace effectively and promptly. Unfortunately, it is also easy to make a mistake while you try to achieve a resolution to the conflict. Here are four mistakes to avoid for conflict management in the workplace.
1) Taking the Conflict to Heart
Conflicts in the workplace can precipitate because of a variety of factors, including personal stress, misunderstandings, and differences in problem-solving. Most of the time, the conflict will not be about you, and you should not take it personally. Getting your feelings, or worse, your pride, involved, will lead to emotional decisions instead of rational ones.
Likewise, avoid using personal insults against someone during a workplace conflict; it is simply unprofessional and inappropriate.
2) Avoiding Instead of Being Proactive
Most people dislike conflict because it creates stress and thus they will try to avoid conflict. However, if you find yourself directly involved in a conflict at work, avoidance is never the best policy. Ignoring the problem will only lead to festering resentment, decreased productivity, and increased work stress. Eventually, the conflict may reach a “breaking point” that can cause a public fight or a necessary trip to human resources.
If you witness a conflict between co-workers, you can, hypothetically, ignore the problem. However, the continuing conflict may eventually affect you via low team performance and stress. Instead of avoiding the problem, consider bringing it up to a supervisor or, if you are comfortable, taking on a leadership role by offering to help mediate.
3) Failing to Establish a Resolution Plan
A good plan is key to conflict management in the workplace. Whether you are directly involved in the conflict or have stepped up to mediate, it is important to have a plan of action to ensure that all parties involved in the conflict are heard. Furthermore, a good conflict resolution plan requires agreement from all parties and should be constructed together.
A successful resolution plan allows all parties involved in the conflict to identify the problem and express their grievances. Once everyone has expressed themselves, they should work together to find a solution that everyone can agree on. If you are directly involved in the conflict, you should also express your point of view and actively involve yourself in finding a solution. If you are not directly involved, you can mediate and offer solutions that might be agreeable to both parties. Once everyone agrees on a solution or solutions, establish a time frame for follow-up.
4) Failing to Follow Up
Sometimes a solution everyone agrees upon during a conflict resolution meeting is not actionable. It is also possible that one party will deviate from the plan. In either case, failure by either or both parties to adhere to the agreed-upon solution can cause further conflict; which is why it is important to follow up and ensure that both parties are satisfied.
To learn more about effective conflict management in the workplace, get in touch to learn how WorkPeace can help.