Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict happens. Differences of opinion and different work styles can create problems, straining relationships between coworkers and reducing their efficiency and productivity. They may become unmotivated and dread coming into the office. But if properly handled, conflict can also be an opportunity to move toward a better organized work environment.

Below are some steps to help managers avoid and resolve conflict in the workplace:

Communication

Clear communication plays an important role in avoiding conflicts in the workplace. Be very clear and specific with your message and communicate in a way that everyone can understand. When talking with or emailing your colleagues, make sure they understand everything being discussed, as misunderstandings can lead to more problems in the future. Ensure that all necessary information is being properly conveyed to avoid this.

Clarify Misunderstandings

When conflicts arise, bring both parties together and let them have a professional and respectful conversation. Make sure each party understands the other’s point of view. At the end of the discussion, make sure an agreement of some sort has been reached and any misinterpretations are addressed.

Consider All Sides

Speak with each party individually to understand the issue behind the conflict. Ask them for suggestions on how to best avoid this situation in the future. After hearing everyone out, analyze the feedback and focus on the problem itself rather than the specifics of who did what. Any action taken should be with the goal of improving the overall work environment. Meet again with the parties involved and provide your solution. Be impartial and emphasize what’s best for the company in order to avoid future complications.

Eliminate Negative Feelings

Solve the problem in a manner that helps both parties feel like the issue has been resolved in an acceptable manner, ideally with no lingering bitter feelings. Everyone should be satisfied with the solution so that the work environment remains a respectful and friendly place.

Be Cooperative

Everyone has their own way of working and accomplishing tasks. Don’t impose your ideas on others and instead consider their views. Avoid bias, treat everyone equally, and be fair with all your employees and coworkers. Bring it to their attention when they make mistakes, but also applaud them for a job well done. If you make mistake, apologize, and accept your part in causing the problem. Never assume any conflict is insignificant; always try to solve it as soon as possible, rather than letting it fester. Try using written notes or emails to help your peers understand the solution to a problem. And always keep the bigger picture in mind.

Structure

Encourage collaboration. Create a structure that facilitates teamwork and requires staff to work together to complete tasks. This is one of the most effective conflict-resolution techniques and it will make employees realize the importance of working as a team to support each other.

Regardless of the specific workplace, everyone expects a friendly and healthy setting when they’re doing their job. It’s everyone’s responsibility to create a positive work environment. It eliminates stress and keeps employees cheerful. More importantly, it brings out the best in people on a daily basis and helps increase productivity.

U. Lakhia

Employee Counter-Productive Behaviour: Reasons and Solutions

Counter-productivity is a detriment to any workplace and can spread quickly amongst employees. Every business tries to curb or eliminate it whenever possible, but the reality is that there is no clear way forward. As an employer, confronting it head on with an employee could potentially cause unwanted tension or create unease in the workplace. Fear not! There are other solutions to circumvent disastrous scenarios and increase productivity at the workplace.

 

Absenteeism

A missing employee affects the entire workplace, with the rest of the employees usually having to pick up the slack for the absentee.

Solution: Absenteeism is a difficult problem to tackle because of the difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate and poor excuses for missing work. Some companies have instituted mandatory sick leaves, in which an employee receives a specified number of days each year to use as sick. While this may not be a viable option for every company, it does provide a counter measure for sick call, as well as reduces the spread of communicable diseases.

 

Cyberloafing

With the internet so readily available to employees, it is a potential tool for distraction via personal e-mail or social media.

Solution: Institute a policy that prohibits personal internet usage and make it clear that violators will face consequences. Another viable option is using a software to track or monitor productivity. Block websites and let employees know a tracking software is installed. This will discourage cyberloafing.

 

Socializing

Being sociable isn’t necessarily a bad trait. However, to constantly socialize at the workplace is to drag down productivity for more than one employee.

Solution: Be the role model that your employee is sorely missing and inspire them to share in your enthusiasm and work ethic. An employee will be encouraged to follow in the same behaviour as their employer, so set a good example and follow company policies and procedures.

 

Goldbricking

Goldbricking refers to an employee avoiding an objective or task, which can drastically disrupt workplace productivity.

Solution: Organization is the key to combat goldbricking. Make clear what tasks must be completed by the end of the day and delegate them clearly to employees to avoid confusion or excuses.

A clear and definitive set of policies and standards is the most effective method of combatting counter-productivity. It sets a precedent for all employees to follow and discourages deviant behaviour.

 

 

Alex Correa | DBPC Blog