Conflict is inevitable in any workplace scenario but what counts is the way the conflict is handled by the concerned individuals. Conflict can erupt between the management and employees, amongst co-workers or between company-customer relationships. No matter what the conflict is by choosing to ignore it or putting it under wraps, the conflict will only grow multifold. Hitting it on the nail with proper unbiased analysis is what helps in resolving any stirring conflict.
Firstly let us try to understand why conflicts are likely to arise. In a workplace setting, there are many different types of individuals interacting on a day-to-day basis quite closely. The wavelength and ideologies of all these individuals are surely not on the same level. There is most likely an inner struggle and power play games happening without any noticeable symptoms. Added to this is the stiff competition at every level of workplace hierarchy. The result of all this soon gets reflected in the form of arguments, disputes, professional rivalry, backbiting, harboring jealousies etc. Some of these catapult to litigation cases and before anything of this sort arises, putting reigns on the issue with the help of a sound conflict management process is much needed
Practicing the following agenda as a part of conflict management process can go a long way to managing disputes and conflicts at a workplace better.
Keep Communication Channels Open – The communication process should be such that there is clarity in the communication process from top to bottom. Not just clarity but the communication should be time bound as well. Timely communication helps in achieving promptness in action thus nipping any arising conflicts at the budding stage itself.
Code of Conduct – Subtle reminders by management on code of conduct and behavior of employees at workplace help in reducing a conflicting and charged up atmosphere. By stating that the leadership does not approve of misbehavior helps creating more tolerance within a conflicting environment. Similarly create an atmosphere of goodwill with customers for avoiding unwarranted clashes.
Delegate Job Responsibilities – Every employee within a workplace plays an important role. By delegating duties and job responsibilities clearly and reviewing the same from time to time can help in preventing conflicts taking place within the company hierarchy or with customers.
Adopt a Keen Ear– Sharpening listening skills and learning to remain calm no matter how agitating the situation might be is vital. Not listening to an aggrieved party’s woes implies short handedness and disinterest. One would need to stay calm and listen carefully to whatever issues are being raised. It is referred to as ‘active listening. It can’t be done with mere monosyllables but be more responsive as a listener. Also remember a calm mind is necessary for bringing a charged-up situation under control.
Disallow Personal Attacks – No matter how serious the conflict is never permit or encourage personal gossip and accusations take place center stage. This will only undo the resolving process. Leadership would need to take account of the situation and ensure not only self but also others involved to steer clear from personal talks in a professional conflict environment.