Team-building is a term that most employees scoff at when it comes attached to a working lunch or an ice-breaker exercise that feels forced or inauthentic. And yet the right kind of team-building exercises can actually have positive impacts (and create positive morale) when it comes to preventing conflict between employees.
Preventing Conflict Between Employees
Employees spend a lot of their day together but sometimes might not know much about each other. This has its pros and cons. In terms of managing conflict between employees, it can be helpful for team members to understand some things about their colleagues, like how they work, and even personal tidbits that employees feel comfortable sharing. This can help because it adds in the human connection piece that might be superficial, or missing entirely, in a relationship purely built on work expectations. When people know more about each other, they tend to be a little kinder, go a little easier, and find a path to forgiveness more quickly than if they were strangers.
Establish Strong Leadership
Dealing with employee conflict starts with leadership. Leaders set the tone for how interpersonal interactions will go in the office, and employees want to know their leader will take fair and appropriate action if things go south. They also want to know they can rely on management to receive feedback effectively and make appropriate improvements in the work environment. Leadership could benefit from being supportive of employees who are showing signs of extra stress and being willing to help however they can.
Cultivate an Inclusive Company Culture
Knowing how to resolve conflict in the workplace as a manager doesn’t always come easy but preventing it often requires less stress and heartache. One way to decrease vulnerability for conflict between employees is to cultivate a company culture that disallows discriminatory or harassing language, no matter how subtle or acceptable it may seem. When microaggressions or prejudice of any kind go unchecked, they can fuel anger that eventually erupts. Hold violators of common sense HR policies accountable and let folks feel safe at work to better manage conflict in organizations.
Be Clear About Expectations
Behaviors that may seem like a no brainer to one person can strangely sometimes feel foreign to another person. Communication is important when it comes to defining the expectations you have for employees of all levels and how they should not interact or collaborate with each other. Don’t make assumptions about what people think is appropriate; be clear, repeat yourself often, and remind people that it’s for their safety as much as their peers’. When figuring out how to deal with coworker conflict on your unique team, keep this in mind.
Preventing conflict between employees can be difficult even if you feel confident in your resolution skills. You don’t have to tread these waters alone. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.