Every workplace experiences conflict from time to time. In fact, any place where people convene to work toward a common goal is likely to experience occasional flare ups of disagreement and dispute. So if conflict is so commonly possible, how do you know when you need a conflict resolution specialist to intervene? Below, we have listed some common indications of how to know if you need a conflict resolution specialist in your company.
How to Know if You Need a Conflict Resolution Specialist?
A conflict resolution specialist is an experienced professional who understands the psychology behind conflict and can offer evidence-based techniques to navigate its complexities. The expertise of a specialist can be invaluable because conflict often taps into the underlying emotional nuances of a person which can be challenging and fragile for a manager to contain without the proper training. Many leaders want to understand how to know if you need a conflict resolution specialist. Here are some subtle and not-so-subtle indications that you should stop trying to navigate this on your own and call in the pros.
Communication is something we do often, but we don’t always do it as effectively as possible. While it’s critical for business operations, relationship building, and building brand awareness, employees don’t always have the skills they need to communicate in the ways that are most beneficial to those goals. If you notice that miscommunication, assumptions, heated arguments, or lack of communication altogether are often behind the conflicts or mistakes happening on your team, you might want to consider getting support from a conflict resolution specialist. They can teach your employees and leadership alike the basics in effective communication in order to cultivate a healthier work culture that is more proactive about conflict prevention and can focus more on innovation and customer satisfaction.
If employees don’t seem interested in team building, engaging with one another, or collaborating on projects and events, morale may be low. To be fair, employees don’t need to engage in extracurricular activities in order to be good employees, but resistance to engagement with others may be a sign that the company culture is turning people off and that may have big impacts on engagement in job performance and not just social activities. Since the outcome of company culture is a joint effort cultivated collaboratively by everyone involved, a lackluster one might be an indication that things aren’t going well and that things might not get any better. This type of environment can spark conflict easily as employees may be withdrawn, more easily stressed, and less motivated to solve minor disagreements thereby giving them space to become larger problems.
So far we’ve discussed more subtle cues but chronic conflict is an obvious sign that you could use some professional support in your organization. Perhaps you’ve tried to solve the issues but nothing seems to be working. In addition to communication training, something like de-escalation training could be helpful in arming yourself and your employees with the ability to lower emotional intensity when things get heated. This is often an overlooked component of conflict resolution as people think resolution is about finding who’s right and who’s wrong rather than realizing the typical outcome is everyone’s a little right and a little wrong. Instead the most important thing is that everyone can communicate together effectively, which requires the ability to de-escalate and remain cool. So if you feel this step is being overlooked, make sure you call in some resources to help you navigate this delicate step.
Indications of Emotional Overwhelm
As conflict often involves the emotional reactivity of the people involved, it’s typically important for someone well-trained to intervene, especially if the intensity is high. This is because the wrong handling of someone’s volatile emotional state can lead to continued negative impacts of these emotional impacts on the person and the environment around them. So if you notice that one employee in particular is exhibiting aggression or anxiety that seems like it might be too sensitive to be addressed without the right perspective, do that employee and the rest of the team a favor and bring in the folks who can manage things with safety and care.
There are many kinds of issues a company can face and many kinds of issue resolution strategies they can apply to solve them. But if you’re noticing patterns of conflict that are showing no signs of slowing down, there may be a root cause that you’re missing and it’s not likely worth the costly consequences of letting it go on much longer.
It might not be clear to know if you need a conflict resolution specialist or if you can handle the issues in-house with the resources already at your disposal. But it might be worth considering that if you’re asking this question, you may need the support of a professional. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.