Managing Conflicts In The Workplace

There is no way to prevent conflict, especially in the workplace. Everyone has one’s own opinion and work style, making a clash inevitable. Although competition is beneficial for every organization, it causes people to communicate their ideas and knowledge about others’ opinions. Some aspects can create emotional stress for employees, make the atmosphere tiresome, and distract people from the organization’s goals. While unresolved conflicts can harm business, a properly controlled battle saves business time and money. It improves colleague relationships, employee performances, retention rates, communication skills, and workplace culture. 

There are some basic strategies for conflict management in the workplace, making it easier for people to get along. Some are vulnerability, defenseless acts, trust, transparent conversations, and motivations. Nevertheless, there lie communication skills at the heart of each of these aspects. 

 

Talking crystal clear and instantly 

When conflict occurs between coworkers, we should take action immediately. In the Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell said that rooting out the problem involves honest conversations. By talking honestly and getting the discussion about the conflict started as soon as possible, we avoid an unpleasant atmosphere in the workplace, and employees work out their differences quicker before the problem worsens.

 

Setting clear expectations

We reach better communication when we fully understand others’ expectations and manage what others expect from us. Miki Feldman-Simon, the founder of I Am Back at Work, makes it her number one priority to have set expectations from day one. “I once worked with a company where people would often interrupt [each other],” she said. “I established a principle where [interruption] was not acceptable. Consistently applying this principle changed the communication habits within the company, making it possible for everyone to voice their opinion.” If people do not understand each other’s expectations, confusion and conflict may arise. People need to be heard to be understood, so making this a top priority takes efficiency and communication to the next level in the workplace.

 

Improving the listening skills  

Communication skills are not limited to connecting with others and expressing ourselves; sometimes, we should listen to what our colleagues’ words and responses. Listening is essential not only in face-to-face conversations but in messaging. 

By listening carefully, we avoid misunderstanding and therefore conflicts. Also, when we lend our ears to someone else, we can respond to them effectively and make better conversation. Being defensive when the other person has a different opinion will not help the conversation; instead, embrace the differences. Take time to communicate with people who do not have the same perspectives and be open to them; this opens doors to a new world. 

 

 

Open body language 

When conflict arises, we probably want to leave the place and slam the door, but honestly, this act makes everything worse because a conversation did not occur, and the conflict stays unresolved. It is best to take our time to cool off and then try speaking in a calm and friendly way and separate our audience from the issue. Using “I” instead of “you” causes the other person not to feel attacked. Hearing this, the other person will put their guard down; in fact, the result is to get them less defensive. 

It is essential to consider a choice of words and not underestimate the power of body language and tone. Sometimes what movements conveys makes conflict worst. Act in a way that signifies the willingness to resolve the dispute and reach an agreement. 

 

Acknowledge and respect personal differences

One way to reduce opposing viewpoints, actions, and work styles that cause arguments and misunderstandings, is to identify the differences between each person’s views. 

It is better to accept that everyone experiences the world differently. Every person has a perspective due to their background, lifestyle, and culture, so it is evident that we interpret the same event differently. Recognizing our communication needs and other communication styles paves the way for better understanding. We give meaning to what we hear or see and draw a conclusion based on our experiences. Accepting personal differences makes it easier to begin having discussions that resolve conflicts in the workplace. 

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