The most effective and affordable approach to solving employee conflict is to prevent it before it even begins. Clear and respectful communication, as well as emotional self-regulation skills, can be helpful in reducing the tension that can often spark a dispute between employees.
Conflict Prevention Strategies in the Workplace
Conflict can erupt when tensions build and unresolved issues spark up. One way to simmer the reactivity that can fuel the flames is to practice emotion regulation skills. These skills are intended to cool down a heated moment by putting more space and time between a trigger and someone’s reaction to it. By slowing down reactivity there can be more space for objectivity which is one of the most helpful conflict prevention strategies in the workplace. Creating culture change around these skills can have a big impact on conflict reduction.
Take a Break
Among other conflict prevention strategies in the workplace is knowing when to walk away. Sometimes in order to keep our irritation in check, we need to take a few minutes to ourselves, even at inconvenient times. Walking away from a tense situation might come with some negative connotations, but knowing when you need a break is actually an effective skill. If sticking around will increase your reactivity and lead you to do or say something that will escalate the situation, then walking away can be positive. Be sure to inform the person you’re in discord with that you need a few minutes to think over the situation or come to some new conclusions and that you expect to return to complete the conversation.
Handling conflict in the workplace can be difficult if you’re maintaining a tense body. When we’re upset, we may hold our breath or breathe very shallowly. This can keep our nervous system activated. Try taking a few deep breaths to let your nervous system know it’s okay to slow down and to make some space in your body for the oxygen you need. This is a quick and easy strategy that is available to you always.
With a calmer nervous system and some space, perhaps you can zoom out a little bit from your perspective on the situation. This can certainly help avoid conflict in the workplace. Are you reacting to verifiable facts or your best-educated guess or assumption? Have you clearly communicated your needs in this situation? Is it possible you’re misunderstanding their outlook or intention? Is there a path to a middle-ground solution? Asking yourself questions like this can help you step inside the mind of someone else, breaking down the barriers between us that can cause division and feelings of being misunderstood.
A great idea among popular conflict prevention strategies in the workplace is to build up your mindfulness muscle. Once you have a more objective view of the situation, return to it with a new mindset. Remain aware of your reactivity, what things increase your irritability, and when it’s time to slow down again. This can help you take what you’ve learned from the experience to prevent future conflict.
Knowing how to handle employee conflict doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems can support you and your team with a wide array of trainings that can fit your business needs. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.