Effective Ways to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Posted in News, Insights, Motivational

Truth: when it comes to the workplace, conflict is unavoidable. Here are some effective and practical ways to manage conflict resolution in business.

Mastering and addressing conflict resolution is a topic that comes up regularly with my clients.  Leaders with advanced emotional intelligence are aware of their surroundings and demonstrate empathy and compassion when dealing with conflicting situations.

I believe business leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that supports and enables their employees to thrive. Intervening and handling conflict is imperative to maintain a favourable business culture.

What to avoid when it comes to conflict resolution:

Effective Ways to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace, Marshall Connects

  • Procrastination. Not intervening or ignoring it can significantly intensify the conflict.
  • Speaking with individual team members when there is a group of employees in conflict
  • Believing the only people affected by the conflict are the participants. Conflict contributes to the creation of a hostile workplace, infiltrating employees that aren't involved.

Steps to Mediate Conflicts in the Workplace

When teams or individuals are struggling to manage in the workplace, I recommend using a framework to work through the conflict resolution process.

1 | Meet together with team members.

  • Ask each member to briefly summarize their point of view (without interruption or personal attacks). 
  • This short conversation should clarify the disagreement and conflicting views.

2 | Ask each member to describe exact actions they'd like to see the other party take to resolve the conflict.

3 | Self-reflection by leadership

  • Sometimes, a leader must own some of the responsibility and help employees resolve workplace conflict.
  • Leaders, ask yourself, "What about the situation is causing these team members to fail?"

4 | If the situation needs further exploration, use a process adapted from Stephen Covey - ask participants to share what the other employees can do to remedy the situation.

  • Specifically, they need to identify what the other employee can do more and less of and list what they can stop and start doing.

5 | All team members need to be part of the discussion and commit to making the changes necessary to resolve the conflict. They can start by:

  • Noticing the other person has made a change, no matter how small.
  • Treating each other with dignity and respect.
  • Agreeing to disagree respectfully.
  • Not allowing personality conflicts to affect the workplace.

6 | Inform participants that you expect employees to resolve conflict proactively as adults by:

  • Stating you will not choose sides.
  • Reinforcing, you will only intervene if the team members have met and are unable to resolve the issue.
  • Sharing that a person external to the conflict can't know the truth of the matter.
  • Emphasize disciplinary action will occur if the team cannot resolve the issue.

7 | Reassure both parties of your faith in their ability to resolve their differences 

  • Assure them they have the skills to work together to resolve their differences, and the process will strengthen their relationships and positively impact the business.
  • Demonstrate your appreciation and encourage them to continue with their successful contributions within your shared workplace.
  • Set a time to review progress.

Without a doubt, a leader's ability to effectively and efficiently manage conflict resolution will have a profound effect on the culture and overall productivity of the business.

Start today by reflecting and practising on the steps above consistently in your workplace. It will make a monumental difference in your leadership skills and your team’s resolution skills. Connect with me for support to develop these skills; discover my consulting opportunities and emotional intelligence assessments and training.  

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