Figuring out how to resolve conflict in the workplace before it happens might seem like a bad omen or a waste of time. But trying to mitigate conflict once it’s already started can be difficult on account of all the escalated emotions. Instead, whether or not you’re in a leadership role, learn the skills necessary to resolve conflict so that you’re prepared to remain level-headed and calm if you find yourself or some of your peers in a scuffle at work.
Learning how to resolve conflict in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many effective steps that can be taken in order to help deescalate arguments and tension between coworkers. Trying them out with each other when things are calm and positive might even be a fun way to help spread your conflict management knowledge and get others on board so they’re equipped with effective communication, too. Arming yourselves and each other with conflict management tools before any conflict arises can also diminish the odds of anything negative arising, as effective communication can prevent disputes and help keep relationships moving smoothly and productively.
Effective communication is, in part, about how we speak to each other verbally and non-verbally. This is about the tone of voice, the language, and the calm effect we express when sharing our thoughts and needs. Effective communication also includes recognizing when we’re keeping quiet. Many times people will choose not to say anything at all about frustrations they’re experiencing with their teammates. They feel they will be perceived in a negative way so they hold their tongue and then grow increasingly more aggravated with the way things are going. This can lead to an emotional outburst down the road which sparks conflict nearly immediately. Be proactive about letting it be known when a workflow isn’t working for you. Be respectful and solution-focused, but don’t remain silent.
Effective communication isn’t just about what you contribute to the conversation but how you receive information as well. Practicing deep listening skills is critical when learning how to resolve conflict in the workplace because it can decrease tension coming from someone who otherwise feels unheard and invalidated. By being responsive to someone in their emotional state, whether or not you necessarily agree with them, you help to diminish some of the stress and frustration they’re holding on to. This opens new paths for communication with less emotional reactivity. Solutions can be found there.
Resolving conflict at work can be stressful, but if you’re teaching others during a period of calm how to prepare for a possible issue, you can role play different scenarios and make it more fun. This can help inform effective conflict resolution steps if and when conflict ever does arise. It can also help alleviate some tension by adding a bit of humor and positive team-building to the active conflict.
When you’re trying to discover how to resolve conflict at work, remember that work is only a small component of your life. The stress of work can make it feel like the only thing that requires our focus, and that anything that goes wrong there will have an immense impact on who we are as people. This stress only makes conflict worse and harder to manage. It is important, therefore, to foster positive elements elsewhere in your life and to remember that your work life is a small piece of your overall life.
If you need help resolving conflict at work, let Pollack Peacebuilding help. Working with individuals and groups, we collaborate on positive and long-lasting solutions to the common interpersonal issues that can arise in the workplace. Help your teams build strong foundations on which to succeed. Contact us today!