Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
When you combine a group of people with different skills, abilities, and personalities there is bound to be a time when a conflict will occur. As much as we want everyone to work harmoniously, no amount of behavioral tests or job-fit assessments can prevent conflict from happening.
You shouldn’t look at a conflict in a purely negative way. Instead, look at the positives in that it allows your co-workers to understand each other better, strengthens communication, and allows individuals to grow. If you look at it it through this perspective, you will foster a work environment where people feel comfortable coming forward when there are issues.
The first thing to do is to acknowledge the conflict when it first occurs and execute a meeting. You want to handle the situation as soon as possible before the tension increases and it escalates. Have each co-worker involved in the conflict meet one-on one with you or a supervisor. Once the supervisor has knowledge on the situation, conduct a meeting where all persons are involved. Allow them to openly discuss the issues that they have and try to figure out the root of the problem. Don’t rush to come up with a resolution within one meeting. The conflict must be one that is well thought out and that both parties agree on. It will prevent the conflict from resurfacing in the future.
As a leader, when solving conflict it’s important not to take sides, keep an open mind. Each individual is responsible for their own actions. The main purpose of you or a supervisor being present is to help them work through their problems. Do this by listening closely and following along with what each individual says. Then, give advice and guidance on the ways that they can work through these issues.
If the conflict is resolved, after a few weeks or months have a follow up meeting to see if the resolution was successful. Continue to strengthen the relationship between the two. Be mindful that sometimes there isn’t a clean-cut resolutions to conflict, and both parties must learn to maintain good working relationships.. Further action can be required in the form of performance appraisals, department switches, or disciplinary actions- depending on the severity of the situation. Whether there is a clear resolution or not, a lot will be learned about conflict resolution and how to handle the situation properly.