Conflict resolution is the process of resolving disagreements and coming up with solutions that are mutually agreeable to multiple parties. Conflict management skills are essential for managers in today's dynamic and diverse workforce. As leaders, managers are responsible for fostering a productive and harmonious work environment, and conflicts among team members or departments can hinder the overall organisational success.
85% of employees experience some kind of conflict, with 28% of employees nearly constantly experiencing conflict in the workplace. Effective conflict management skills enable managers to address and resolve conflicts swiftly and constructively, promoting collaboration, innovation, and employee engagement. By proactively managing conflicts, managers can minimise negative consequences, such as decreased productivity, high turnover rates, and strained relationships, while maximising opportunities for growth, learning, and improved team dynamics. The ability to navigate and mediate conflicts is crucial competency that empowers manages to maintain a cohesive and motivated workforce, achieve business objectives, and cultivate a positive organisational culture.
Managing Conflict in the Workplace
Encouraging open communication is a fundamental aspect of managing conflict as a leader in the workplace. By creating an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns, you foster transparency, trust, and a culture of collaboration. Being a leader, you set the tone of communication within the team. You can model open and transparent communication by actively listening to your employees, being approachable, and treating everyone with respect. Demonstrate a willingness to receive feedback and encourage diverse viewpoints by emphasising that all contributions and perspectives are valued. This can be done through encouraging questions, brainstorming, and constructive debates. When employees see you valuing open communication and fostering a psychologically safe environment, they are more likely to follow suit and express their concerns. This will also help in understanding the roots cause of a conflict and finding the correct solution.
Addressing the issue promptly means taking immediate action when conflicts arise in the workplace. It is essential for a leader to be proactive and not let conflicts linger or worsen over time. Employees in United States companies spend approximately 2.8 hours each week involved in conflict. When conflicts arise, take time to actively listen to the concerns and perspectives of those involved as each person may have their own version of events. Encourage a collaborative approach to conflict resolution where all parties feel satisfied with the outcome, look for solutions that address the underlying issues rather than quick fixes that may lead to future conflicts. If necessary, act as a mediator between conflicting parties. Help them understand each other's viewpoints, facilitate productive discussions, and guide them towards finding solutions.
38% of employees in the UK experience interpersonal conflict at work in an average year. The total annual cost of conflict to employers (including management and resolution) is at £28.5 billion. This represents an average of just over £1,000 for every employee in the UK each year, and just under £3,000 annually for each individual involved in conflict. Have clear policies in place that outline the expected behaviour and conflict resolution procedures within the organisation. This provides a framework for addressing conflicts and ensures consistency in handling future issues. Clearly communicating expectations regarding behaviour and professionalism to all employees defines acceptable workplace conduct and sets boundaries for respectful interactions. Once a conflict has been resolved, follow up with the individuals involved to ensure that the resolution is working effectively. Monitoring the situation prevents any re-emergence of conflicts and addresses any lingering issues promptly.
It's important to remember that each conflict is unique, and the approach taken by a manager may vary depending on the situation. However, by employing these strategies, managers can create a supportive and harmonious work environment where conflicts are effectively resolved, fostering productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction.
How Wellity Can Support Leaders Through Conflict Resolution
Keeping a team focused and motivated is a full-time job itself, but conflict within the team can make the job impossible. Our session 'Conflict and Confrontation -Managing Difficult Conversations' will explore how to reach resolutions that are agreeable to all parties involved and get the team focused and moving forward. Leaders will learn conflict management strategies that will boost performance and increase collaboration among their team.
Explore the origin of conflict and tension.
Identify conflict management styles.
Develop an understanding of the intent behind the message.
Connect conflict management styles with a variety of personality types.
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