In businesses of every size, conflict is an unavoidable result of close working conditions, stress, deadlines and personality clashes. Just because conflict is routine, however, does not mean that it should be ignored. Doing so can erupt in further tension with dramatically negative results. Instead, follow these tips for identifying and resolving conflict head on.
Recognize and Identify the Signs of Workplace Conflict
Among HR managers, one of the most challenging aspects of resolving conflict is actually recognizing it before it’s too late. Leaders and managers should be able to recognize the signs of ongoing conflict without being confronted with it directly. According to Beth Rifkin, writing for the Houston Chronicle, the keys are regular communication, looking for common or consistent complaints, and holding regular meetings with the entire team or staff.
Don’t Address Conflict in the Heat of the Moment
While there are plenty of good times to address conflict, the absolute worst time is when one or both parties are visibly upset. This allows emotions to be pushed to the side and logical discussion to come into play. David Ballard, of the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, believes that, “It’s difficult to have a productive discussion if you and your coworker are angry or upset. Wait until you are both clear-headed.”
Understand the WIIFM Factor
WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me, is an important aspect of conflict management that HR managers should be aware of. Conflict arises, generally, because one or more parties feel that they are not getting what they deserve, whether that is fair treatment, recognition or respect. Writing for Forbes, Mike Myatt suggests that, “It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in.”
Listen More Than Talk
Leaders and managers are often eager to solve the problem, but listening may produce better results. UC San Diego encourages their faculty to listen, avoid interruptions and rephrase what the other person is saying in order to ensure that their needs are fully understood.
Where there is human interaction, there will be conflict. However, these methods can be effective in reducing tension and resolving conflict in the workplace.