Whether you’re leading a team or a member of one, learning how to overcome conflict at work is an important skill. Coming to the table equipped with conflict prevention and resolution skills can help you in myriad ways, including reducing stress, improving communication, and demonstrating your qualities as a reliable leader. For the organization, employees with these skills have benefits, as well, including higher retention, increased productivity, and improved morale.
How to Overcome Conflict at Work
When learning how to overcome conflict at work, leaders can provide resources and training to their teams to help them understand the best way to handle employee conflicts. This includes everything from before conflict even arises to after it’s already began to permeate, and can have long-lasting positive effects on the organization. Here are some paths to solving employee conflict and reducing instances of it in the future.
Focus on Events, Not Personalities
Misunderstanding in the workplace are bound to arise from time to time. When dealing with interpersonal conflict at work, it’s important to stick to the objective facts at hand and not get lost in personal feelings. While you may dislike someone, falling out personality flaws won’t lead to improved relations. Instead, focus on isolated behaviors or events that occurred and discuss them from an objective perspective that allows for collaborative communication rather than judgment and invalidation.
Listen Actively and Carefully
Learning how to overcome conflict at work means learning new communication skills, even the ones that may seem obvious. This includes listening. Oftentimes we listen for data that allows us to prove our point, interject our opinion, or shut the other person down. This isn’t helpful to the end of resolution, and it doesn’t help de-escalate the intensity of emotions that can occupy the space between two people in dispute. Listening actively allows for people to feel safe, like they can put down some of the defenses that keep conflict moving upward rather than moving toward peace. Conflict coaching or communication skills training can help provide these tools to your team.
Prioritize Areas of Conflict
When focusing on issues and resolutions, prioritize which areas should get attention first. This should be a slow and intentional process at first, especially if those involved notice a lot of emotion and a backlog of complaints arising within them. While they may feel passionately about a great deal of issues at hand, whether or not they relate to the specific conflict, it may be in everyone’s best interest to keep to a few certain items at first so care can be given and change can be achieved. Other items can be addressed later, or may be impacted by a trickle-down effect, but it won’t be fair to expect sweeping changes to occur all at once.
Develop a Plan for Resolution
Once issues are prioritized, ideas for resolution should be collaborated on with action plans that hold those involved accountable for contributing to the solution. This plan should include metrics that will help determine if the goal is being met, or worked toward effectively, and what can be done if assessment proves things aren’t on the right path.
If you’re learning how to overcome conflict at work, reach out for support from experienced professionals who can provide the right kind of training and guidance for your team. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to meet your specific needs.