How to Deal With Conflict at Work
Team conflict resolution can get intense if rules are not set and teammates are not open to change. In the end, conflict is normal, part of every work environment. However, how it is settled makes the difference between ordinary and successful companies. Two teammates will, at a certain point in the future, believe in two completely contradictory things at the same time. This is a normal thing to occur. The way in which they communicate about it and their openness to the situation at hand is the most important thing after all. Having a strategy for such moments can save both parties precious time and effort. Here are some of the best strategies in which you can deal with conflict at work.
1. Define What Is Right and Wrong
Defining what right behaviour looks like is the first step towards finding a solution. When employees have no model of what right or wrong mean, conflict resolution becomes impossible. No rules mean chaos, which is the foundation for unproductive disagreement. Once you can eliminate a standard of behaviour that is considered wrong, your employees will be more encouraged to act appropriately.
What measures you can take:
- Create a framework of discipline. You could consult with an online paper writing service to write a rule book and hang it on the wall.
- Write down who is responsible for what within the company and if there are any shared responsibilities, write those down too.
- Create guidelines for resolving conflicts – the do’s and the don’ts of conflict resolution.
Key takeaway: Once these are set in place you can rest assured that your company is in good hands. Defining what wrong and right behaviour are and setting up rules that must be respected is the first step towards dealing with conflict at work.
2. Do Not Avoid Conflicts
‘The second step is becoming aware that conflicts need to be solved. So, be the type of manager that helps people confront each other,’ writes the best essay coordinator at Johns & Johns, Steve Lauren. I’ve met many managers throughout the years who thought that ignoring a problem would prevent it from reappearing, but this could not be further from the truth. ‘Ignoring a problem will only make it worse,’ adds Steve.
So, deal with your employees in healthy ways. They need to get some things out, so let them do it. You will have the power to intervene and diminish the impact on each person, but that does not mean that you should stop it.
Key takeaway: do not stop conflicts from happening. Let people confront each other while you moderate.
3. Change the Environment
When people are heated up and ready to engage in verbal disputes, they need to change the environment. Most of the time, employees’ anger will be tied to the place where the fight started, so it is important to get both parties out of there. Find another room that is quieter and less tense, and make sure that they are there by themselves. Nobody else in the office needs to hear what they have to dispute besides them and you. Bring the individuals to a neutral location, offer them some water and maybe coffee, and let them take five to calm down.
Taking all these measures will make them feel more comfortable so their anger will slowly diminish. Even if they are still angry – but less than they were five minutes ago – you still made a great contribution. That means they will at least try to contribute to the discussion from a more rational perspective.
Key takeaway: take people out of the room that they were fighting in. Changing environments will change their moods.
4. Apply the Sandwich Technique
As a mediator, you must be witty. You cannot get personally involved in this, yet you play a key role in conflict resolution. So, here is the technique I like to use to help deal with conflict at work:
- Start with a compliment. After you figured out why the conflict surfaced, address the issue. However, you don’t want to directly jump to accusing someone of something, that will only make the situation worse. So, your best option is to compliment both parties for having the patience to deal with the situation in a rather mature manner. Thank them before you start.
- Listen to both sides of the story. Point out the good and bad things that you heard from both parties. Now, without attacking the person, attack the point that they are making if you consider it wrong. However, don’t assume anything about anyone! Do not jump to conclusions before they are expressing their entire vision. They might realise that they were wrong before you even say anything.
- End with a compliment. Now that the facts have been put on the table and made clear, thank both parties for intervening and take five again. Let them cool off; while they do that, you should think about ways to solve the issue at hand, which brings me to the next point.
But before, key takeaway: use the sandwich technique to address conflict. Start with a compliment, give constructive feedback, end with a compliment.
Bonus: after the solution has been found, you could hire an essay writer to come up with a rule-based on the conflict at hand. This will prevent other similar conflicts from occurring. Add it to your rule book.
5. Think Positively and Opportunistically
Thinking opportunistically is the most important of all. Here is when your expertise as a conflict resolution manager should intervene. Instead of thinking about what happened from a punitive perspective, think positively. What have both parties gained from this and what will change in the future? Asking them this question should be a priority for you since you want their understanding of the issue first. When conflict arises, there will always be an opportunity to gain important lessons out of it, so finding that positive side of the picture is the most important thing.
Key takeaway: find the bright side of the picture by highlighting the positive benefits of engaging in conflict. Ask both sides about their own opinion and draw a sensible conclusion.
6. Offer the Right Guidance
This is one super important thing I forgot to mention – offering guidance, not solutions. Instead of acting ‘like a boss’ and ordering people around, choose to be a leader. Do not intervene in finding solutions to the matter at hand but rather let your employees deal with that. To deal with conflict at work most effectively you should look to coordinate their activity and dispute. However, you should not give your personal opinion on the issue. When they hit a dead-end, say something that reignites the conversation to become productive.
Former manager and Australia assignment help specialist, Taylor Grant describes what conflict resolution used to look like for their company:
‘Guide them to finding a solution rather than finding solutions for them. If you do the latter, they will never learn how to deal with problems for themselves, which is not what your job is. In the end, if you do your job right, you shouldn’t be doing it anymore. The end goal is that your employees are able to resolve the conflict by themselves without any help from a third party.’
Key takeaway: point your employees in the right direction but do not offer solutions. Let them find their own truths and solve the problem by themselves. Simply facilitate and point out the rights and wrongs of their actions.
7. Act Accordingly
When the time comes, act accordingly. When the whole conflict has been resolved and parties have accurately identified their wrongdoings, discuss consequences. Once you figure out a way to deal with the consequences of their actions, act accordingly. Hesitating to act on the issue shows a lack of authority and instability. As a leader, you must find the power to make the right decisions at the right time without hesitation.
Key takeaway: make the right call at the right time.
Dealing with conflict is an important part of the work ethic that your company engages in, so making sure you solve it accordingly is essential. The above steps will help you in finding a mature solution that works for both parties.
For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Conflict Resolution Skills and our Conflict Resolution Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Conflict Resolution Skills Tips and articles.