To prevent conflict from becoming a mainstay in your organization, developing some effective issue resolution strategies and protocols can help. Offering training, discussion strategies, and having clear escalation channels through management so employees know who to rely on can help your team feel more empowered and comfortable knowing how to avoid conflict at work and how to resolve it when it does arise.
Issue Resolution Strategies
Cultivating a company culture that acknowledges the prevalence of conflict can help reduce it over time. An environment that encourages fluency in issue resolution strategies can make conflict a less stressful experience for all involved, resulting in less time and stress wasted on managing disputes. Here are some approaches to communication and conflict that can help you and your team begin moving toward this fluency.
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
Organizational conflict takes on many forms and sometimes we may be headed toward conflict without even realizing it. If you find yourself noticing that one team member in particular is chronically bothering you, getting on your nerves, and doing things that complicate team goals, consider that this could spark future conflict. For example, if you’re having a particularly bad day and this person engages in behavior that upsets you, you may begin arguing with them and expressing how much their behavior impacts you. Because things have been building up for so long, things have gotten personal and the argument is just the beginning of a deeper conflict.
At that point, you, a manager, or a team member would have to navigate how to solve a conflict between two employees which will take time away from the business. Instead, consider offering the benefit of the doubt to your colleagues, in conflict and in times of peace, where you’re not assuming ill intent. Typically people don’t have intentions to harm when they act ineffectively, so if you’re able to not take it personally, you might not get too stirred up when a bad day approaches.
Increasing usage of effective communication skills can help in several ways, and trainings are available for organizations to normalize resolution strategies. To avoid more intensive interventions like mediation or litigation, use conflict resolution activities for adults in the workplace to allow team members to practice using new tools and insights. Among the tools that can support reduced conflict includes active listening, a skill which asks individuals to listen without interruption, without proving their own point, and without using the other person’s words against them. Active listening means listening to understand so that the root of the conflict can be better identified and, therefore, resolved.
Conflict may stir up negative emotions within us that make it hard to do anything but blame the other people or the environment. And while there may be truth to the roles other people or systems have played in your conflict, it’s also typically true that everyone has some involvement in conflict. Acknowledging how you may have contributed to the conflict or identifying what better approaches you could have taken is likely to help de-escalate things more quickly, leading to positively impactful issue resolution strategies rather than stagnation and lingering tension.
Applying effective issue resolution strategies may seem like an overwhelming task in your organization. If managing conflict has caused unnecessary stress, get support from the experts. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.