Effective Conflict Resolution in Your Workplace
Four Simple Strategies for Conflict Resolution (and to Help Prevent Conflict in the Future)
Conflict starts a variety of ways. An employee misunderstands instructions on a project and charges ahead with the wrong information. Two employees are chosen to work together on an initiative, but nobody remembers to tell either employee that they’ve been assigned a partner. An employee hears that something negative was said about their work in the break room. Conflict resolution always has communication at the root of the problem.
Whether your employees need better instructions on their assignments or improved inter-department communication, here are some considerations that may help your company avoid extensive conflict resolution:
Address a conflict right away. Once you’ve identified a conflict in your workplace, address it openly and honestly right away. Hoping that two people are going to work it out on their own, or pretending there isn’t tension, aren’t healthy steps for building a safe and inclusive company culture. Instead, pull the parties involved together and have an open discussion about the conflict.
Clearly communicate expectations. An easy way to get into a conflict is by not setting clear expectations for employees. Assigning a project with murky timelines or objectives places your employee in a tough spot, where they will not be able to measure whether they are meeting your expectations.
You should also be clear about what your employees can expect from you. If you turn over a project to an employee, promising to help them wade through the difficult stages, be specific about the ways you intend to help them. If meetings related to the project are required, put them on the calendar and stick to them.
Encourage listening, too. It’s easy to let your mind wander when others are communicating, particularly in a group setting. Cultivate your listening by taking notes and asking questions to clarify. If you are sitting in a conflict resolution meeting, encourage each party to explain their experience fully and be sure to use eye contact and ask questions to communicate that you are actively listening to their concerns.
While it’s hard to train your staff to listen, the more your leadership exhibits good listening skills, the more likely your staff is to adopt good listening habits, too. It becomes a part of your company culture.
Respect differences. When talking through conflict resolution, it’s critical to remind all parties to remember that everyone sees the situation through their own personal lens and may interpret events differently. Each person sees the world differently, based on their personality and experiences, so be careful not to make assumptions about motives or intentions.
At PI Consulting Group, the PI System is used as a behavioral assessment to help your company identify compatible team members that complement one another’s communication and teamwork styles. If you would like to engage in less conflict resolution and implement more proactive strategies to get the right team together, give PI Consulting Group a call.