Avoiding Workplace Conflict – Regardless of the Situation at Hand
While many people truly enjoy their jobs, one thing that can make your place of employment unpleasant is workplace conflict. Oftentimes these conflicts can be just mere discrepancies that quickly and easily are resolved. However, there may also be instances that become quite heated, resulting in suspensions, employment terminations, and possibly even lawsuits.
With this in mind, it is essential to do all that you can in order to avoid such instances. Otherwise, the place where you likely spend 2,000 hours per year – or more – can become a very uncomfortable place to be and soon you will start to dislike or even hate your job.
One of the first key points to remember is that conflict typically stems from emotion and communication – or lack thereof. For example, by not communicating effectively and providing poor information to coworkers and managers, misunderstandings will often arise. This can easily lead into a more headed conflict over time.
Another key aspect to keep in mind is that many times, people allow their emotions to drive decisions. This is a common human trait – and has been for thousands of years. By just knowing this is a factor in decision making, it will help to lead to many potential conflict resolutions. Here, by staying focused on providing timely, clear, accurate, and concise communication, it is likely that conflict can be minimized – or even avoided completely.
Lay Out Behavior that is Acceptable and Behavior that is Not
Although it may sound too simple to be true, by just having a definition for what constitutes acceptable behavior and what doesn’t, you will go a long way in not just resolving workplace conflicts, but in avoiding them altogether.
Some ways to do this include encouraging sound business practices using teamwork and collaboration, as well as working on the development of future company leaders. Another way to accomplish this is to have a well written authority statement that lays out the good, the bad, and the ugly in terms of acceptable behavior in the workplace.
Deal with the Conflict Directly
While many of us would like to hide from sight when a workplace conflict arises, the best course of action is to deal with the conflict directly. Doing so can help to keep the situation from boiling over, which oftentimes leads to an even worse situation.
In fact, in this same vein, there could even be times where you seek out conflict in order to quickly and proactively intervene in hopes of avoiding a situation from occurring altogether. This can keep your workplace running much more smoothly.
Understand Alternate Points of View
In any type of conflict – workplace or otherwise – it is essential to try and understand the other person’s viewpoint. Typically, there are many very good reasons why certain people feel a certain way. By temporarily putting yourself into the other person’s shoes, it may be easier to decipher why they feel the way that they do. This can help to more easily come to a resolve – ideally one that allows for compromise on both sides of the conflict equation.
This can also help others to obtain their objectives – a big reason why the conflict may have begun in the first place. Here, by taking the approach that will help others obtain their objectives – while at the same time, keeping things on an even keel – you may find that all parties will willingly work together in resolving the particular conflict.
Conflict Avoidance Factor
While some conflicts can be dealt with head on, there are others that are best left alone completely. This step goes hand-in-hand with the old saying that it is best to pick your battles. The deciding factor should include making a determination of just how important the particular issue is.
Certainly, if it is important enough to create a sizeable amount of conflict, then it is likely that steps should be taken to resolve it as quickly as possible. If, however, a big deal is being made out of nothing – such as “a mountain out of a mole hill” – then it may be best to simply let the conflict burn itself out so that you can move on to more important and productive tasks.
Could the Conflict Be an Opportunity In Disguise?
Although conflicts oftentimes make things difficult, the truth is that there may be occasions where what initially appears to be a problem could actually be opportunity dressed in disguise. In this case, see what you can learn from the issue at hand, while at the same time analyzing where improvements can be made and success derived.