Conflicts can develop anywhere, but one of the places where they are the most destructive is the workplace. If there are two people in a company continually in conflict, there is virtually no escape. Not only the two people involved but other employees and management have to tolerate a tense atmosphere whenever the two people are in the room.
If there is an ongoing dispute or discomfort between two parties at your workplace, it is a good idea to use conflict resolution techniques and hire a professional to hash out problems.
We may not want to consider conflict as an inevitable part of working and doing business, but it is hard to imagine any work environment where there are not issues that crop up from time to time. It might be useful for you to hire a third party as a conflict management facilitator or to have someone affiliated with your human resources department as a conflict resolution expert.
A third party can help calm down both sides and be seen as an impartial agreement broker. You may want someone in your existing staff to complete a course on conflict resolution. You can find programs offered by higher education institutions such as ACU and Case Western.
Tackle the Problem Head-On
If you notice an ongoing conflict between employees that is not abating, it is important to deal with the problem right away rather than letting it fester. Sometimes bad feelings can just blow over, but if the issue is not going away, it is time to meet with those involved and to get at the heart of the problem.
It is important to have everyone who is involved in the conflict at the meeting. If someone was unable to attend the meeting, they may feel that they were locked out and their point of view was not heard. If it is hard to get various people together, consider video conferencing or Skype as a way to hold a virtual meeting.
First, it is essential to establish ground rules to keep the meeting from boiling out of control. Everyone should be given a chance to speak and to state their positions without being interrupted. The parties should agree to listen to the suggestions that are given and work towards a solution rather than just turning the meeting into a complaint session.
Everyone’s point of view should be acknowledged and heard thoroughly. Questions should be asked to clear up any details.
Strategies for Preventing Conflicts
One of the best strategies for dealing with conflict is to prevent it from arising in the first place. Foster teamwork in your company by taking a cooperative approach to projects. Make sure that at least as much praise is assigned to your employees as blame if things go wrong.
Adopt a positive and constructive attitude when dealing with your employees. If the environment in the workplace is tense, conflicts are more likely to develop as employees play the blame game.
Focusing on achievement and praise can reduce the general negativity in the environments and encourage employees to work together rather than to look for problems.
Good luck in your conflict resolution endeavor!