How do You Handle Conflict Resolution Among Your Employees?

Conflict Resolution Starts With Prevention

conflict resolutionConflicts happen. You have a set of people working together that bring different backgrounds, opinions and skills to the team, and each of those factors is going to influence how they view situations and how they communicate. As a manager, conflict resolution is a core part of your role, but if you’re hoping to avoid needing to do it often, you can reduce your workplace conflicts by using some prevention techniques.

Conflicts take up time, resources and reduce productivity. Here are some ways to avoid spending a lot of time on conflict resolution:

Be clear with expectations: Employees need to know what the requirements are for their roles, including which decisions they are authorized and expected to make, what level of communication is needed in various situations and how to express a difference in opinions without it escalating into a fight.

Don’t be shy about addressing potential conflicts: If you sense that a conflict could arise in a particular situation or setting, be proactive. You can’t catch every potential conflict, but if you notice an employee exhibiting signs of frustration or you notice that a segment of your team is disengaged while discussing a new objective, you can go after a solution before conflict breaks out.

Empower your employees to work it out: You can’t spend all of your time on conflicts, so if you sense that a potential problem is there, encourage your employees to schedule a coffee meeting to talk it through. A simple, “let me know what you two decide,” can give your employees confidence that they can work things out without your involvement. It might be a good plan not to refer to this as conflict resolution, and instead frame it as two team members collaborating on a solution.

Think prevention in your talent management, too: Some of the best prevention for conflict management is getting the right people in the right roles. You need team members that complement one another and communicate well through a difference of opinion. Using a behavioral analysis on both existing employees and in your hiring process is an effective way to understand your employees’ motivations and tendencies.

Gaining objective information about how your employees work through a situation will help you identify your most effective leaders, your employees that are more likely to be engaged in a workplace conflict and those that may sacrifice company objectives and productivity in order to avoid a potential conflict.

You can’t avoid all conflict in the workplace. What’s necessary, though, is effective conflict resolution strategies, as well as a mindset geared toward conflict prevention.

At PI Consulting Group, we work with companies like yours to create healthy conversations about conflicts and how to resolve them. With tools like the PI System, you’re equipped to manage your team in ways that maximize team effectiveness and boost productivity.