4 Conflict Management Strategies Used in the Workplace

When it comes to your conflict management education, reviewing successful strategies is key. Conflict management strategies used in the workplace provide real-life examples about how to handle a wide variety of issues that can crop up in your office or other work environment. Review some of the most common strategies below to help your management skills. Some are relatively ineffective, while others resolve issues and prevent future ones. Learn from both types to enhance your management skills.

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Compromising

The compromise method involves asking both parties to mutually agree on a solution. It requires the individuals in question to think critically about the bigger issue and why it is important to resolve it, such as for the sake of workplace harmony. Compromise also provides a temporary solution until a larger agreement is possible. For example, say one coworker is fed up with another always going outside for cigarette breaks. The number of breaks they take per day adds up to 20 or 30 minutes of extra non-work time. Before diving deeper into the issue, such as providing the smoker with literature about quitting, you can suggest limiting the number of breaks per day to three or four. Reduced breaks might be enough to appease the other employee, at least for a time. In addition to encouraging the smoker to quit, you could provide the rest of your team with longer break times to make up the difference.

Avoiding

Some managers do not deal with conflicts, they avoid them. While ignoring the issue can be attractive because you don’t have to face the problem right away, it rarely solves it. Most of the time, the conflict festers and becomes an even bigger issue that potentially can affect more employees, if not the entire office. It is therefore essential to say no to the “short-term solution” appeal of avoidance and face the conflict, even if it means taking a few days. While you do not have to manage the conflict the day it happens, giving the affected team members a resolution date shows you are active about resolving it.

Accommodating

Often referred to as “smoothing over” a conflict, accommodating the involved parties typically means giving them whatever they want. Perhaps a longer lunch break is what one party wants, while another has continually argued with them about desiring earlier exit times. Accommodating each party makes them both happy, but can create problems with other employees later on. Unless everyone in your office enjoys the same level of accommodation that will not hurt the business’s bottom line, it should not be used as a conflict resolution strategy. Additionally, there is the risk of frequent accommodations, which can undermine your authority and encourage employees to take advantage of your good nature.

Professional Mediation

Among the best and most effective conflict management strategies used in the workplace is professional mediation. An objective mediator listens to both sides of the issue without the other party interrupting. They work to resolve the conflict in ways that satisfy both parties but do not accommodate them too much, such as creating a set time limit for email responses or providing more amenities in the company break room. Team members often feel like they can speak more openly and honestly in front of an objective mediator, which helps get to the heart of the matter and increases the chances of a successful resolution.

Wrapping Up

Each work environment is different, so what works for yours might not suit another’s. Remember that conflict management is a process, but one that makes your workplace happier and healthier.

For more about conflict management strategies used in the workplace, please contact Pollack Peacebuilding today!

 

Kent McGroarty

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