Managing workplace conflict is not solely a task for management. Employees are the folks in the trenches; often dealing with customer complaints, stressful deadlines, and dreaded teamwork that can cause more frustration than productivity. That’s why it’s important that all employees, not just managers, learn basic strategies to avoid conflict in the workplace.
Strategies to Avoid Conflict in the Workplace
Workplace interpersonal conflict is inevitable when so many different personalities join together for a common cause. Managing conflict when it arises can be done, but it requires certain skills and finesse. Sometimes the best way to manage conflict is to prevent it before it even begins. Here are a few strategies to avoid conflict in the workplace:
Keep it Light and Remain Positive
Among the best strategies to avoid conflict in the workplace is to not get mired in negativity. In a work environment, it can be easy to focus on the points of stress and problems that require solutions. But when you’re collaborating with peers, it can help to keep the focus on solutions, opportunities, and positive engagement. This helps prevent major ruptures from arising in the workplace, especially when stress is high and emotions are visible.
Increase Awareness of Personality Clashes
Avoiding conflict in the workplace can be difficult if team members aren’t aware of how different everyone is. In other words, your work style, communication style, and emotional triggers are likely to be very different from those you work with. Identifying this can help keep issues from escalating. Instead of taking things personally, you may be more inclined to recognize differences in perspective and work toward a common idea rather than drive forth those differences.
Different personalities can also begin to shift the overall dynamic and culture of the team as personnel shifts over time. Recognizing this culture change and addressing where people may now feel left out or disconnected can help prevent conflict before it begins.
Improving communication is among the most effective strategies to avoid conflict in the workplace. Many times disagreements come from individuals not understanding each other or presenting information in a way that creates a need for defensiveness. Since we know that ineffective communication is one of the most common workplace conflicts this should help managers and team members prepare and take action proactively. There are many communication skills team members can learn to help lessen the frequency of disputes.
Avoiding conflict in the workplace doesn’t always work as effectively as desired. If you find yourself in a conflict at work and you’re not able to manage it, you may need to escalate the issue to a manager or human resources. HR dealing with conflict is nothing new, and they’re trained in how to manage it effectively. If you’re uncomfortable looping in HR, outsource your problem-solving to conflict resolution professionals who can help you increase your skills and tools to manage it in-house.
If avoiding conflict in the workplace is not working out so well for your team, consider getting support from the professionals. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right kind of solutions for your hardworking team so they can focus on what really matters.