There are many strategies to reduce conflict in the workplace but depending on your type of business or workplace, those strategies might not be helpful in the long-term. While most managers may want to avoid or prevent conflict altogether in their workplace, some may argue there’s a more effective way to allow opposition of ideas or work styles in service to the greater goals of the company. That can be a fine line to walk so even a skilled manager may want some support navigating the delicacy of the situation.
Strategies to Reduce Conflict in the Workplace
Among the most popular strategies to reduce conflict in the workplace rest a few hidden nuggets that conceptualize conflict a bit differently. These strategies understand conflict can be ineffective but isn’t always. Here are 3 unique approaches to take if you find yourself agreeing:
Foster Healthy Conflict
Conflict is typically something we want to avoid – we do have a whole blog about it, after all. But one of the more delicate strategies to reduce conflict in the workplace is to disallow conflict from being catastrophic. By providing training and insight to your team about the benefits of healthy and respectful conflict, and more importantly, how to keep it effective, you can reduce tensions around the office and give your employees a healthy outlet to problem-solve and express themselves. What are the benefits of healthy and respectful conflict?
Innovation, improving resilience to natural workplace politics, self-advocacy, and feeling empowered to lean head-first into uncomfortable situations.
A company culture that doesn’t punish its employees for honest feedback is an important thing to cultivate in service to this mission. Other steps management can take to encourage healthy conflict is to recognize and reward those willing to take a stand in support of their position, even if that means disagreeing with management in an appropriate way, honoring those who do not cave to group pressure to agree, and challenging your team to use data to back up their perspectives as a means to an effective end.
Hire the Right People
For some hiring managers, the right person is someone who will comply and do as they’re told. Many hiring managers would not be eager to hire someone who actively challenges the status quo of the work environment and seemingly provides an increased need for mediating employee conflict. This can be a mistake. By utilizing behavioral interview questions to more deeply understand prospective employees, you can look for those focused on adding value through bold and innovative approaches rather than someone focused on people-pleasing or just meeting the bare minimum.
Provide Conflict Resolution Training
Among the things we tend not to learn in our early school years is how to effectively express ourselves, disagree with others, and manage those disagreements without the issue becoming personal or unmanageable. By offering conflict and communication training to your team, you equip them to be ready to handle tough situations rather than just trying to avoid or ignore them altogether. Teach your employees how to solve conflicts at work in an effective way; one that provides growth and not just suppression of ideas and feelings.
Solving workplace conflict doesn’t have to the Herculean task it feels like. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can help you find creative approaches that are right for your team. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your business.