3 Ways of Resolving Conflict in an Organization

Published: November 21, 2022 | Last Updated: August 8, 2023by Kent McGroarty

Organizations and institutions are prone to conflict like any other business, even if said organizations/institutions are nonprofit. Resolving conflict in an organization can require more time if the issue involves multiple employees, employees and managers, or other parties. To help you deal with organization-related conflict in a timely manner, review the following suggestions.

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Don’t Wait to Address the Issue

Skirting the problem never, ever makes it go away. Depending on the nature of the issue, ignoring it can be viewed as pardoning the guilty parties, if applicable. Addressing the problem as soon as possible indicates your readiness to solve it and move on, which those involved will appreciate. No one wants to feel ignored, dismissed, or undervalued, and ignoring a conflict can cause all of these feelings. By tackling the issue immediately, you’ll earn the respect of your colleagues and help them feel “seen” and valued, which they deserve.

Should you not have time to deal with the problem as soon as you want to, it is still important to acknowledge it. You could write an email or a message saying something like, “I understand there is a conflict among [x parties.] While I cannot address the problem today, I have time tomorrow and the following day to discuss it. Please see the following blocks of time in this email and let me know what works for you. Again, my apologies for the delay and I hope to have this issue resolved in a timely manner.”

Determine if HR Involvement is Warranted

Some issues are meant for the Human Resources department of your nonprofit or other organization. Anything involving bullying, racial discrimination, religious intolerance, or sexual harassment calls for immediately notifying the HR department. Even if you cannot address the issue yourself quickly, this department will conduct an investigation and communicate with you as needed. Depending what the conflict concerns, certain employees might need their pay docked or face other suspensions. Taking classes about workplace conduct and the issue at hand, such as sexual harassment or religious intolerance, might be needed as well.

By alerting the HR department as soon as you learn about the issue, you are doing your part to resolve the problem and protect the organization. No organization wants to gain a reputation for discrimination or harassment of any kind, especially if it is a nonprofit based on a foundation of helping others.

Consider Professional Mediation

Perhaps the HR department does not need to get involved, but the issue is serious or concerns a wide variety of people. Utilizing the experience and skills of a professional mediator is a good idea in such scenarios. You are less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed, and the involved parties are more likely to be forthcoming. It is not uncommon for team members to speak openly to an objective professional compared to their managers or supervisors. They will not feel as judged and can express their true feelings about the situation.

The pro mediator might decide to meet with the applicable parties one on one before having a group discussion, in light of the conflict. After this individual hears everyone’s story, they provide solutions that hopefully satisfy all parties. You might want to keep the mediator on retainer to solve future conflicts in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Resolving conflict in an organization does not have to be a scary or nerve-wracking process. Being proactive about solving the problem is key and will help you develop conflict resolution skills you can refer to always.

For more about resolving conflict in an organization, please contact Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions today!

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Kent McGroarty